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Paper imports hit new high, jump 60% to 10.5 lakh tonnes in H1

Paper imports hit new high, jump 60% to 10.5 lakh tonnes in H1

Paper imports hit new high, jump 60% to 10.5 lakh tonnes in H1

MUMBAI, DECEMBER 13:  Despite the Centre’s Make in India push, paper and paperboard imports touched an all-time of 10.5 lakh tonnes in the first half of this fiscal, up 60 per cent from 6.5 lakh tonnes logged in the same period last year.

In fact, duty-free imports from ASEAN countries under free trade agreements (FTAs) more than doubled to 2.1 lakh tonnes from 0.8 lakh tonnes during the period, according to the latest data released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics. Paper imports have increased at a CAGR of 15 per cent in value terms over the past six years, from ?3,411 crore in FY11 to ?8,237 crore in FY17.

Saurabh Bangur, President, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association, said paper is being imported at a cost which in many cases is less than input cost in India, which is among the few markets where demand is growing.

However, he said, most of the growth in demand is met by imported paper while domestic capacities are lying idle.

Inadequate supply of domestic wood pulp, a key raw material, is a major constraint for the paper industry. The delivered cost of domestic wood is higher by almost $30-40 a tonne as compared to other Asian countries. Due to this single factor, the cost of paper production in India is higher by $100 per tonne, IPMA has stated.

In a communication to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, IPMA said unbridled growth in import of paper is hurting the interests of the domestic industry, which does not enjoy a level playing field compared to duty-free imports from countries where cost of production of paper is a fraction of cost in India as raw material, inputs and energy is much cheaper and easily accessible.

Source:- Thehindubusinessline.com

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