The import policy in case of Paper needs to be immediately changed from ‘Free’ to ‘Restricted’ and paper imports need be allowed only on the basis of Actual User License to halt the continued and indiscriminate import of paper from China and ASEAN, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) has stated in a communication to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
According to the latest data released by DGCIS, Govt of India, the total import of paper in India increased by 11% to 1.6 million tonnes in FY 2019-20. During the same period, imports from China went up by 14% to 289 thousand tonnes. Imports from ASEAN and South Korea under India-ASEAN FTA and India-Korea CEPA respectively, at nil import duty, went up by 18% and 9% respectively during the year. Chinese exports to India enjoy a margin of preference of 30% on most paper grades under APTA.
“Paper is one of the leading manufacturing sectors that have borne the brunt of imports the maximum. Several smaller paper mills, and even a few large ones, in India, have been forced to shut down their operations due to commercial unviability, jeopardising the employment of thousands. There is adequate production capacity in the country which is currently under-utilised. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in paper import in the country in the last nine years (between FY11 to FY20) is over 13%, which is perhaps the one of the highest amongst all the sectors that have been affected by surge in imports”, said Mr A S Mehta, President IPMA.