JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia plans to begin easing restrictions on coal export ban after its sudden decision sparked concern among importing countries such as Japan and South Korea.
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said on Monday that the matter will be resolved immediately.
“We will begin to relax the restrictions, we are working on it,” Luhut told reporters at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday, Jan. 11.
Recently, Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has temporarily banned coal exports from January 1-31 to avoid outages at domestic coal-fired power plants. Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, supplied around 400 million tons in 2020 to various countries. Some of the big importing countries such as Japan and South Korea have raised their serious concerns over the temporary halt of coal exports for January.
Luhut said the government is currently finalizing the policy on coal exports in response to Japan and South Korea’s official letters.
“We will give our response to them this afternoon or tomorrow,” the senior minister added.
Japan’s Ambassador to Indonesia Kanasugi Kenji previously said in a letter to the Indonesian government that Japan had not been granted the departure permits and the cargo ships could not leave the port since Jan. 1.
“Japan regularly imports approximately two million tons of coal per month from Indonesia for electricity generation and manufacturers and the coal export ban has a serious impact on Japan’s economic activities as well as people’s daily life,” Kenji wrote on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Yonhap news agency reported on Friday, Jan. 7 that South Korea urged Indonesia to revoke the coal export ban. South Korea’s Trade, Industry, and Energy Ministry called on Indonesia to reopen the coal shipments immediately. Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo held an emergency meeting to discuss the ban on coal exports with his Indonesian counterpart Muhammad Lutfi in a virtual dialog, according to the Yonhap news agency.
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