“Import Duty hike on Newsprint only a 'Breathing Space', Apply Benchmark Price of 650 USD per tonne on Import”: INMA

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Read the views of the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association and Indian Paper Manufacturers Association over the restoration of ten percent tax on newsprint imports.

“Import Duty hike on Newsprint only a 'Breathing Space', Apply Benchmark Price of 650 USD per tonne on Import”: INMA  

Delhi | 5 July 2019 | The Pulp and Paper Times: 

Working on the recommendation of the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), the Government of India has proposed ten percent import duty on Newsprint and lightweight coated paper used for magazines in the Union Budget 2019. The domestic Newsprint manufacturers will get some relief from the increased import duty which was earlier on Zero percent. This decision will make imported newsprint a little dearer.

“We welcome the Government's decision for increasing the import duty from Zero to Ten percent, but this hike in duty will only be applicable to the non- free trade agreement (FTA) countries like Canada and Europeans countries. Certainly, this hike will impact positively on domestic newsprint capacity utilization. We expect more paper mills to start their newsprint production, out of 130 paper mills of newsprint in India,” said Mr. Rohit Pandit, Secretary-General of IPMA. 

IPMA has urged finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to bring the commodity under the negative list as it would help do away with preferential tariffs treatment to imports and give a level-playing field to domestic mills.

“Indian paper mills have recently invested huge amounts to upgrade to clean technologies, product quality, and farm forestry. More investments are in the pipeline. All this will be unproductive if imports are allowed at nil rates,” AS Mehta, President, IPMA told.

“Domestic Newsprint Industry had been damaged due to cheap imports at Indian's soil; the hike in duty will certainly give 'breathing space' to Indian Newsprint Manufactures. Import Duty hike will plug all the tax evasion and loopholes during the import process,” exclusively told by Mr. Vijay Kumar, Secretary-General of Indian Newsprint Manufacturers' Association (INMA).

Mr. Pandit further said that the g“Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN and Korea needs to be reviewed. Korea and Japan are the major supplier of Newsprint to India and they are enjoying Zero percent duty on imports. The government will have to negotiate with FTA's countries and bring the Newsprint in the negative list,”  

India's consumption of newsprint currently is around 2.6 million tonnes, while the import of newsprint is around 1.4 million tonnes but over time, domestic production is expected to increase over imports. 

“Immediately, it is too early to predict the growth of domestic newsprint as import rates are very low. We urge Government to set a benchmark price of 650 $ per tonne to stop the dumping of newsprint at the Indian market. Currently, Imports are coming around 400 $ per tonne (without duty) which was 900 $ per tonne six months back,” Mr. Vijay said.

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