Paper and paper board imports jump 16% in last three quarter

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 17, 2020

Paper & paperboard imports increased 16 per cent in the first nine months of this fiscal to 12.75 lakh tonnes from 11 lt logged in the same period last year, even as the Indian paper industry is reeling under excess capacity.

Of the overall shipments, import of paper from ASEAN region has risen even faster at 37 per cent during the nine-month period, according to data released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics.

Notwithstanding adequate production capacities in India, domestic paper manufacturing is being hit hard in view of the continued surge in import of paper at low or nil rates of import duty enjoyed by some of the largest paper manufacturing countries, said the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association.

Paper manufacturers in Indonesia and China enjoy substantial amount of export incentives and other advantages like easy access to cheap raw material and energy, denying Indian manufacturers a level playing field.

A S Mehta, President IPMA, said in view of excess capacities in some of the large paper manufacturing countries in the world, paper and paperboard are being diverted to India, arguably the fastest growing paper market in the world. Growth in e-commerce, wider spread of education and increase in quality of life are leading to an increase in consumption of paper and paperboard. However, the demand is being increasingly met by imports, depriving Indian manufacturers of growth opportunity.

IPMA has asked for putting all grades of paper and paperboard in the negative/exclusion list of existing and future free trade agreements. “No import duty preference should be offered and a level playing field should be provided to domestic industry”, IPMA has stated. It has also called for change in paper and paperboard import policy to make them subject to import licensing. Both under the India-Asean free trade agreement and India-Korea CEPA, import duties on paper and paperboard have been progressively reduced to zero per cent on almost all grades. Under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, India has extended import tariff concessions to China (and other countries) and reduced basic customs duty from 10 per cent to 7 per cent on most grades of paper, said the association.

Published on February 17, 2020

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