Updated February 25th, 2024 at 14:31 IST

Paper and paperboard imports rise 37 per cent to 1.47 MT in April-December 2023

IPMA highlighted that paper and paperboard imports witnessed a 25% rise to 1.44 million tonnes in FY23, with the April-December figures surpassing this volume.

Reported by: Business Desk
Paper and paperboard imports in FY24 | Image:Unsplash
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Paper and paperboard imports: Paper and paperboard imports have surged by 37 per cent to approximately 1.47 million tonnes in the April-December period of the current fiscal year, impacting local paper mills, as per the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA). This marks a notable increase from the around 1.07 million tonnes imported during the same period last fiscal year, based on data from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S).

IPMA highlighted that paper and paperboard imports witnessed a 25 per cent rise to 1.44 million tonnes in FY23, with the April-December figures surpassing this volume. The influx of imports, valued at Rs 10,000 crore over nine months, is adversely affecting the Make-in-India initiative and posing challenges to the employment of approximately 5 lakh farmers associated with the domestic paper industry through agro and farm forestry, stated Pawan Agarwal, President of IPMA.

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Despite India's ample domestic manufacturing capacity for various paper grades, indiscriminate imports are negatively impacting the commercial viability of most paper mills, Agarwal underlined. Government data indicates that out of over 900 paper mills, only 553 are operational in the country.

The surge in imports can be attributed mainly to a significant 142 per cent growth in paper and paperboard imports from ASEAN countries, which enter India duty-free under the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement, according to IPMA. Imports of all major paper grades, particularly uncoated writing & printing paper, coated paper, and paperboard, are on the rise.

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Furthermore, tariff concessions provided to China under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) have further fueled paper imports, along with substantial subsidies provided by certain countries to their paper mills, giving them a cost advantage over Indian counterparts, IPMA noted.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published February 25th, 2024 at 14:31 IST