Keep paper, paperboards in negative list while signing FTAs: ASSOCHAM
Friday, February 17, 2012
Industry body ASSOCHAM today urged the government to protect the paper and paperboard industry by keepingits products in the negative list while signing bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade treaties.In various free trade agreements that India plans to sign in future, the import duty is sought to be reduced in aphased manner. The
industry’s output is used in educational, printing and packaging sectors.
It is important to keep paper and paperboard industry belonging to the core sector outside the ambit of FTAs andrecognise it as sensitive deserving special treatment, said The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
“The paper and paperboard industry has made significant investments to ramp up capacities for meeting domesticrequirements,” said secretary general D.S. Rawat. “It has strong backward linkages w
ith the farming community
from whom wood (the raw material) is sourced,” he said in communication to the ministry of commerce and
industry.About five lakh farmers are engaged in growing plantations of eucalyptus and subabul over 10 lakh hectares. Onthe other hand, economic slowdown in developed countries and export-dependent economies has led to excesscapacity.Taking advantage of low customs duty rate of ten per cent, these countries find India as an attractive outlet for
diverting their excess inventory, said Mr Rawat. “Increased imports are severely impacting the economic viability
of many paper mills in India
To provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry, the customs duty for import of paper and paperboardsshould be increased and this category kept in the negative list with no preferential treatment in bi-lateral andmulti-lateral trade treaties and agreements, he said.