Since the end of October, Washington shippers haven’t exported to Indonesia because of new regulations that fruit be inspected before it’s shipped, and that importers in Indonesia have a permit, said Rebecca Lyons, export marketing director for the Wenatchee-based Washington Apple Commission.
In the 2011-12 season, Washington shippers sent 2.5 million bushels worth $51 million to Indonesia, making the country the fifth-largest importer of Washington apples, Lyons said.
“Our industry is quite concerned about it,” she said.
Shipments were robust through October, Lyons said. Exports to Indonesia were up 60% from last year at the same time.
Originally, Indonesia announced that the new regulations would go into effect Oct. 28, Lyons said. But that meant that fruit already on the water couldn’t be imported.
As of Nov. 15, some fruit was still stuck in the Port of Jakarta, though officials were working to get it delivered, and the deadline for the new regulations was pushed back a month, Lyons said.
Washington shippers are hesitant to ship now because they don’t know if receivers will have import permits, Lyons said. In addition, Washington companies may not have access to third-party inspection services that Indonesia could require under the new inspection protocol.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” Lyons said.