Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


No Plans To Ban Granite

14 March 2007 (TODAY)

Indonesian Trade Minister clarifies Jakarta's stand

JAKARTA - The Indonesian government has no plans for a blanket ban on
exports of granite, according to the country's Trade Minister.

However, Ms Mari Elka Pangestu added that Jakarta is urging provincial
governments to stamp out illegal exports of this commodity and export only
granite that meets Trade Ministry requirements.

"Until now, we are not discussing stopping exports of granite (entirely).
What is occurring is that according to government regulations, exports
besides sand and topsoil, of which granite is one, have to be verified" as
meeting criteria specified by the central government, the Trade Minister
told reporters yesterday.

Ms Pangestu's comments contradicted earlier statements made by Indonesia's
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and Environment Minister Rachmat
Witoelar, who had said the government was considering a ban on granite

Ms Pangestu did not specify what the criteria were to determine whether
granite can be legally exported.

A ban on granite exports would affect Singapore's construction sector,
Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

The debate over the export of granite comes in the wake of a ban on sand
exports imposed by Indonesia on all countries last month. Jakarta's move
affected the construction industry in Singapore but Singapore has since
found alternative sources of sand.

The conflicting signals from Jakarta over the granite issue has prompted
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek clarification on the

Yesterday, when asked to comment on the granite issue, Singapore's Defence
Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "There are many different remarks being made
by our counterparts in Indonesia; it's very hard to tell exactly who is
speaking and what that represents, so we have to clarify with them and I
think that's probably the wisest thing to do right now."

Political analysts say that the latest threat by some officials to ban
granite is intended to up the ante and force Singapore to sign an
extradition treaty, which would be a feather in the cap for some members
of the Indonesian government. Some politicians have said that this was the
agenda behind the sand ban.

The extradition pact has been linked by Indonesian officials to these
other issues despite the fact that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had agreed in
October 2005 to negotiate the extradition treaty in tandem with a defence
agreement. - DOW JONES NEWSWIRES and channel newsasia