Paper importers and printing and packaging traders have demanded a reduction in tariffs on paper imports that domestic manufacturers do not produce. The demand was made at the first meeting of the Standing Committee on Paper, Paper Products, and Packaging Import and Export held at the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) on June 4, 2022. The article contains Paper Traders Demand Duty Reduction on Imported Paper.
Md. Amin Helali, Vice President of FBCCI, was the chief guest at the meeting. Committee Chairman Ishrat Hossain was also present as the chair of the Standing Committee Director in charge. In addition, Md. Shafiqul Islam Vorosha, FBCCI Director, and FBCCI Secretary-General Mohammad Mahfuzul Haque were present at the event.
The speakers said that only 11 types of paper are produced in the country. The rest of the paper supply is import-dependent. But 47% duty has to be paid on importing these papers. Despite being almost self-sufficient in paper production, import duty in India is 18 percent, Indonesia at 19 percent, and China at only 17 percent. The traders strongly demanded an increase in the rate from 3 to 5 percent in Bangladesh due to import dependence. At the same time, they called for the exemption of paper used in national textbooks.
Carton makers complained that there was no regulation on raising the prices of paper and other raw materials. So they are forced to pay a loss by buying products at higher prices and selling cartons at lower prices. In addition to the 5 percent advance income tax on the purchase of raw materials, 6 percent TDS has to be paid on the products produced, which the producers consider unreasonable. They said that in April 2022, the Ministry of Commerce had issued a gazette directing the customs authorities to give exemption based on UD and UP against 100 percent bank guarantee on imported raw materials and essential materials for partial export products to make them interested in exports. But Chittagong Customs is not cooperating in this matter.
Mr. Helali said that the size of the outsourcing market for printing and packaging products in the world is 2 trillion US dollars. So Bangladeshi entrepreneurs should try to capture this market. In addition, almost 15 percent of the production cost of each product is spent in the packaging sector. As such, the indirect export of this sector is about 6 billion dollars. So the contribution of the printing and packaging sector to the country’s economy is a lot. But according to him, the government is not getting enough attention in setting the policy. He stressed formulating an integrated approach with all concerned in the sector’s development.
Mr. Vorosha said the development of the paper and paper products sector requires coordination between producers and importers. He called upon domestic paper producers to capture the foreign market, especially the Seven Sisters market in India. Ishrat Hossain, chairman of the committee, said that with the help of government policy, the printing sector could be able to contribute to the economy like ready-made garments.
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