Big Spike In Asian American Population In Seattle

asian American, ekonomi dan bisnis, health&beauty, population, seattle


Aerial capture of Seattle. Source: Wikimedia Commons .

By Utami D. Kusumawati

The growth in the population of Asian Americans in King County in Washington is outpacing all other races, reports The Seattle Times.

The newest data released by the U.S Census Bureau shows the county is becoming more diverse with the number of minorities increasing significantly.

Govt seeks ways to curb shark fin exports

ekonomi dan bisnis, politik dan hukum

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, November 04 2013, 8:31 AM



The government is seeking to restrict shark fishing in a way that will not severely hurt fishermen in the country, which has become one of the world’s largest suppliers of shark fins.

The best option may be a quota system, though it would be difficult to enforce, director of fish species conservation from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Agus Dermawan said.

Entailed in the quota system, the government would issue a new regulation establishing the status of shark species at the end of this year, he said.

“We are still discussing the regulation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences [LIPI], which will determine what four species of sharks should be inserted into appendix II [the table on protected species],” he said on Friday.

He added that sharks listed in appendix II could still be caught and sold but only in limited number as per the quota set by the government.

The government recently issued a ministerial decree on shark protection status in May this year. The regulation stipulates that whale sharks (rhincodon typus), which can grow to more than 12 meters long and live up to 100 years old, have full protection status.

Agus said this meant killing a whale shark for any reason was strictly prohibited.

Besides whale sharks, other shark species, including the largetooth sawfish (pristis microdon) and the thresher shark (alopias vulpinus), also have protected status under other government regulations.

Regulations on shark protection fall under the government’s compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty created in a 1963 meeting of World Conservation Union (IUCN) members.

Indonesia participated in ratifying the endangered species convention in 1973 and adopted it into a presidential decree, No. 43/1978, which allows Indonesia to issue and implement regulations on endangered species in line with that international treaty.

There is high demand in the international market for shark fins, especially from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Along with India, Indonesia is one of the largest exporters of shark fins in the world.

According to the National Statistics Agency (BPS), Indonesia’s shark fin exports reached 434 tons worth about US$6 million in 2012

Fisheries program leader from the World Wide Fund (WWF) Indonesia Imam Musthofa Zainudin said that most of the time the negotiating process within countries to decide types of endangered flora and fauna was politically loaded.

“Indonesia in the very beginning refused to adopt regulations on the endangered shark trade. However, in 2012, Indonesia backed regulation,” he said.

He chalked up Indonesia’s official refusal to regulate the shark trade to pressure from businessmen from countries such as China, Japan and the United States.

The government’s move to finally issue regulations on endangered sharks had put Indonesia one step ahead of other top shark fin producers, Imam said.

Agus from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said that in Indonesia many fishermen relied on shark fishing for their livelihoods because it was highly profitable.

According to a 2010 survey from the fisheries department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Indonesia was the largest supplier of sharks in the world, with 109,248 tons of sharks being caught per year, followed by India with 74,050 tons and Spain with 59,777 tons. The number has grown significantly since 2000, when shark fishing really took off in Indonesia. At that time, Indonesia caught 70,000 tons of sharks.

“I don’t care about the regulation. As long as the demand in the village market is still robust I will catch and sell sharks,” said 37-year-old Goro (not his real name), a fisherman from Keruak village in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

He added that he had no choice as climate change had caused his fish catch to decline. He said that he fished for sharks in a small motorboat with a pole and line. Goro is only one of an estimated 2.2 million fishermen nationwide whose livelihoods are being threatened by the impacts of climate change. Goro said that to survive he had shifted from tuna to shark fishing, which was more profitable.

“If you only aim to catch tuna nowadays you will often come back empty,” he said.

Secretary general of the People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice Indonesia (KIARA) Abdul Halim said that society should not put the blame for rampant shark fishing on the traditional fishermen.

“It is important to know that the fishermen are only workers. They have no choice because this is the job that will provide money for them,” he said, adding that the government thereby needed to provide alternative opportunities for the fishermen to reduce shark fishing.

The issuance of regulations on the shark trade had already affected fishermens’ income. Goro said that the price of shark fin in the village market had declined from Rp 1.6 million (US$140.92) per kilogram to Rp 700,000 per kilogram.

Chairman of the Indonesian Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing Association Thomas Darmawan said that he supported the government’s move to protect endangered shark species. However, he didn’t advocate for a total ban on the shark trade.

“Even if the government gave punitive sanctions, you would still have an illegal shark trade, which would be more difficult for the government to supervise,” he said.

He added that it would be better for the government to impose an annual quota on shark trading rather than ban it completely. “Our target is to reduce the annual shark catch to less than 100,000 tons without ignoring the fact that our fishermen have to earn a living,” he said. (tam)

Merpati saved from liquidation

ekonomi dan bisnis

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Wed, November 13 2013, 11:53 AM


The government’s decision on Tuesday to save ailing state-owned carrier Merpati Nusantara Airlines from liquidation has opened the way for the entry of new investors who had earlier expressed an interest in acquiring the carrier, a minister said.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said on Tuesday that a number of foreign and domestic investors had expressed an interest in becoming strategic investors to maintain the airline’s operations.

However, the investors had been awaiting the government’s decision as to whether it would keep the company afloat or close its operations down. 

Merpati faced the real threat of closure due to its tremendous debts, totaling Rp 6.7 trillion (US$578.7 million), which is owed to the government and several state-owned companies including oil firm PT Pertamina, airport management companies, PT Angkasa Pura I and PT Angkasa Pura II and the Asset Management Company (PPA). 

During a meeting led by Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, the government decided to keep the airline flying and help find investors to repay its debts and fund a route expansion. The PPA had proposed to liquidate Merpati as it doubted the airline’s capacity to grow and to pay its debts. 

“The government thinks the company still has potential,” Hatta said. 

He said the government would invite strategic investors to take over the airline by assuming its loans. This approach has been adopted before, for National flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia to handle the company’s debts in 1998. 

Hatta added that the government’s decision to save Merpati from liquidation was based on market considerations. He said the aviation industry in Indonesia was growing while the airplane services industry had yet to meet market demands. 

He added that Merpati had one month to draw up a business plan and present it to the government’s economic team before it would be submitted to the House of Representatives. (tam)

Many locals spend more than their gains

ekonomi dan bisnis


A large section of Indonesian consumers spend more money than their monthly income in order to create the facade of an affluent lifestyle to buy social status making them prone to bankruptcy, according to a recent survey.

The survey by Kadence Indonesia has found that the trend will seemingly continue in the following years indicating growing consumerism in society.

“Lifestyle and pressure from society have driven these consumers to spend a lot of money,” Kadence Indonesia deputy managing director Rajiv Lamba said on Wednesday.

Nearly one fourth of Indonesian consumers spend more money than they had, he said.

The survey conducted from July through October this year involved 3,000 respondents in Greater Jakarta, Surabaya (East Java), Medan (North Sumatra), Balikpapan (East Kalimantan) and Makassar (South Sulawesi), among others.

The main purpose of the survey was to compile data on average incomes, spending and savings of consumers living in big cities and rural area.

The survey reveals that 28.3 percent of total respondents or the “broke” consumers had spent more than their income, which eventually prompted them to borrow money at the end of the month to pay their debts.

“Most of these ‘broke’ consumers are not necessarily poor or economically backward,” he said. “These people want to live an affluent lifestyle, which requires them to spend more money.” 

Rajiv added that the ‘broke’ consumers, with an average income of Rp 4.3 million, spent more money than other consumers on non-basic necessities, such as vacations, arisan (social gatherings), house maintenance and paying off loans.

Meanwhile, 33.3 percent of the ‘on the edge’ consumers had the lowest average income of Rp 3.9 million but were still able to save their money at the end of the month even though the amount was not big, he said.

The smallest group were in the category of ‘pragmatic’ consumers, which only accounted for 17.1 percent of total respondents. Rajiv said that these consumers were the most realistic people, who know how to live their life proportionately.

The survey also shows that the percentage of ‘deep pocket’ consumers with average incomes of Rp 8.8 million and average savings of Rp 4.3 million accounted for 21.3 percent. (tam)

Soybean imports set to boost domestic supply, lower prices

ekonomi dan bisnis, politik dan hukum

Soybean imports set to boost domestic supply, lower prices

In a bid to boost domestic supply and eventually lower prices, the government has allowed the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to import 22,000 tons of soybeans from top producers, Brazil and the United States, in November.

The import follows a government regulation issued on Aug. 28, which stipulates that soybean imports could only be conducted by Bulog, state-owned companies, cooperative and/or private entities that participate in the government-sponsored Soybean Price Stabilization Program.

Rito Angky Pratomo, Bulog’s director for business development and planning, said the agency’s swift action was made to meet high domestic demand.

“The Indonesian Tofu and Tempe Cooperative [KOPTI] has asked the government to stabilize the price by importing soybeans so that the tofu and tempe [soybean cake] sellers and producers can survive,” he said on Tuesday.

According to data from the Agriculture Ministry, domestic soybean consumption reached 2.5 million tons last year, while farmers could only produce 700,000 tons. Consequently, the country had to buy 1.8 million tons from overseas.

Rito said the low soybean production, as well as high demand, had caused the price of the commodity to surge from Rp 7,400 (US 67 cents) to Rp 10,000 per kilogram in September, the highest point in 2013.

Rito said Bulog had a responsibility to import soybeans to stabilize the price anytime the price of the commodity exceeded the normal price of Rp 7,400 per kilogram.

“If the soybean productions are abundant, we would then export them,” he said.

As soon as the soybeans arrive from Brazil and the United States, Rito said, the commodity would then be distributed directly to increase the supply in Bali, Jakarta, Medan, North Sumatera, Palembang, South Sumatra, Semarang, Central Java and Surabaya, East Java.

According to Rito, Bulog had also bought up to 125 tons of soybeans from local farmers as of October.

“We can buy more domestic soybeans, if the stock from the farmers is available,” he said.

Contacted separately, the chairman of the Indonesian Tofu and Tempe Producers Association (Gakoptindo) Aip Syarifudin told The Jakarta Post that the price of soybeans in the market had been decreasing.

“As of October, the price of soybeans in Java has decreased to Rp 8,200, down from Rp 10,000 in the previous month. Meanwhile, the soybean prices outside Java reached Rp 9,400, a decline from Rp 10,300 in September,” he said.

He added that the price of soybeans outside Java was still high due to the transportation costs.

Aip said that the strengthening rupiah from the US dollar had also impacted the decline of soybean prices as most local producers were using imported soybeans to make tofu and tempe.

Aip estimated that the price of soybeans would decrease further, after the soybean import duty removal regulation was implemented and the implementation would then boost the volume of imports.

To make tofu and tempe, the association had to import soybeans from the United States because the domestic production was low.

“I had been told by the Agriculture Ministry that the production of soybeans in Indonesia is increasing, however, whenever we check and visit the farmers in the field, the reality is different,” he said.

Taking an example, Aip mentioned two cases in soybean-producing areas in West Nusa Tenggara and Madura, where the productions were far lower that what had been reported by the Agriculture Ministry.

The Ministry claimed that farmers in Madura, East Java, had seen big harvests in which they successfully produced 400 to 500 tons of soybeans.

However, in reality, the tofu and tempe producers could only buy up to 9 tons of soybeans, he said.

Aip added that the government should create an industrial area for soybean farming like the United States had done to improve the quality and quantity of soybean production, as well as maintaining the price at the normal rate.

“Our soybean quality, actually, is much better than the commodities from the United States and Brazil,” he said. (tam)