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Indonesia to tighten used shoe import controls after Reuters report

Indonesia will tighten
customs checks at small ports to crackdown on the illegal import
of second-hand shoes,
responding to a Reuters report that found footwear donated to a
recycling scheme in Singapore was shipped to Indonesia.

In a statement titled “dismantling the scandal of illegal imports of used shoes”, Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry said on Monday that as a result of the Reuters story it would increase checks at ports to intercept any illegal second-hand shoe shipments.

“This incident shows that the illegal import of used shoes is carried out in an organised manner and misuses social projects,” Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The practice of illegal importation of used shoes must be stopped because it has a bad impact on the domestic footwear industry.”

The ministry is also proposing new incentives for local footwear manufacturers importing raw materials for their businesses, and imposing tighter regulations on businesses importing textiles, the statement said.

Dow and Sport Singapore apologised

A six-month Reuters investigation published on February 25 found
that ten pairs of shoes the news agency donated to a recycling
scheme run by US petrochemicals giant Dow and the Singapore
government were exported for resale in Indonesia.

Reuters reporters, using location trackers hidden inside the
soles of shoes, recovered sneakers it donated in Singapore at
second-hand goods markets in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and
on Batam, an island 19 km south of Singapore.

In 2015, Indonesia banned the import of second-hand clothing
and footwear over concerns about hygiene, as well as to protect
the local textile industry.

In July 2021, Dow and Sport Singapore, a government agency,
launched a programme to grind down old shoes with rubberised
soles into granules to be used to make new jogging tracks and
playgrounds. The public donated tens of thousands of shoes to
the scheme.

On February 27, two days after the Reuters story was published, Dow and Sport Singapore issued a statement apologising to the public for a “lapse” in its supply chain which had led to some shoes meant for recycling being shipped to Indonesia.

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