Sudden surge in imports of Chinese and South Korean paper into the country has the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (Ipma) worried. It has asked the Union government to take urgent remedial measures. Imports of paperboard have clocked an unprecedented annual growth of 31.18% year-on-year in 2017, according to the latest data released by the Director General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S).
“Domestic manufacturers have invested huge amounts in the recent past to upgrade and implement clean and green technologies, product quality, farm forestry, among others. More investments are in the pipeline. Such large investments should not be jeopardised by allowing imports at zero or preferential import duties”, says Saurabh Bangur, President, Ipma.
Imports of paper and paperboard into India from Asean countries, China and South Korea in FY18 increased at 32.59%, 56.45% and 57.19%, respectively over FY17, according to Ipma. In volume terms, imports from China reached 5.1 lakh tonne while imports from Asean and South Korea were pegged at 3.3 lakh and 1.5 lakh tonne, respectively in FY18.
The paper industry has flayed preferential tariffs to exporters under FTAs as the overall paper imports touched 1.9 million tonne as compared to 1.4 million tonne in FY17. Including newsprint, total imports touched 3.3 million tonne in FY18.
“While foreign manufacturers can produce at much lower costs due to the supportive policies of their respective governments, they face no tariff barriers in India when they export to our country.
Paper industry has strong backward linkages with the farming community and generates employment in rural areas. Its future commercial viability in the country should not be threatened,” said Ipma secretary general Rohan Pandit.
In the seven year period from 2010-11 to 2017-18, imports of paper and paperboard have increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.47%, from 0.5 million tonne to 1.9 million tonne.