India’s imports of paper and paperboard surged by 39 per cent at 409,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2023-24 against 294,000 tonnes in the yearago quarter, according to an industry body.
In value terms, imports rose by 28 per cent to Rs 3,153 crore in the first quarter of FY2023-24 compared to the year-ago period, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association said citing Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics data.
The surge in imports comes on the back of a 25 per cent increase in paper and paperboard imports in FY2022-23 over the previous fiscal, according to the official trade data. In FY23, paper and paperboard worth Rs 12,531 crore were imported.
In the April-June period of FY24, imports from ASEAN jumped nearly three-fold and from China by 37 per cent in volume terms. Imports of all grades of paper accelerated in the first quarter with the highest jump of 214 per cent seen in imports of uncoated writing & printing paper, 28 per cent in coated paper and paperboard, 15 per cent in kraft paper and 65 per cent in tissue paper imports.
The top import sources of uncoated writing & printing paper are Indonesia, Singapore and China. The top import sources of coated paper and paper board are China, Japan and South Korea, the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association stated in a statement.
“Substantial quantities of paper and paperboard are being imported into the country at significantly lower costs with nil import duty from ASEAN, South Korea and Japan under the respective free trade agreements (FTAs), and preferential import duty from China under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA),” Pawan Agarwal, President at Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), said to TOI.
Agarwal said that domestic paper manufacturers have undertaken large investments these should not be allowed to be jeopardised by allowing imports at nil or preferential customs duties.
IPMA has urged the government to increase the basic customs duty on imports of paper and paperboard to provide a level playing field to domestic paper manufacturers.