INDONESIA TO REMOVE TARIFF BARRIERS GRADUALLY, INDUSTRY MINISTER SAYS

INDONESIA TO REMOVE TARIFF BARRIERS GRADUALLY, INDUSTRY MINISTER SAYS

Tunky Ariwibowo, Indonesian industry minister, said the government would gradually remove the tariffs protecting domestic industry, the official Antara news agency said on Thursday.

Many domestic products were protected by high tariffs on similar foreign- made goods, he told reporters outside Parliament after President Suharto's Independence Day speech on Wednesday.Mr. Suharto said the government would continue to support the growth of domestic industry but not through tariff barriers.

"The government will reduce tariffs on industrial products that are still high," Mr. Ariwibowo said. He did not specify any products.

The government announced phased tariff cuts on 6,030 items in May.

Mr. Ariwibowo said the tariff cuts and controls on foreign investment were the keys to promoting domestic industry.

Mr. Suharto, in Wednesday's speech to the nation of more than 190 million people, said he expected annual economic growth to average 7.1 percent until 1999. Gross domestic product growth was 7.3 percent last year.