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Copier-paper|sector fears rising tide of imports

THE Thai Pulp and Paper Industries Association will propose safeguard measures to the Bureau of Trade Interests and Remedies to protect the local copier-paper industry as well as the entire supply chain of Thai pulp and paper industries from heftier import competition.

TPPIA president Montri Mahaplerkpong said that during the past few years, Thai pulp and paper companies had been hit hard by increasing competition from imported products, especially copier paper.

A recent heavy influx of imported copier paper sold at very low prices has significantly affected the sales volume, capacity and inventory of pulp and paper firms, these companies say.

Montri said that if this is allowed to continue, it would definitely put an end to some local businesses and have a major impact on the supply chain of the Thai pulp and paper industry. If nothing is done to correct this matter, it is very likely that the foreign competition will get out of control and destroy the Thai industry, which has an annual value of more than Bt30 billion.

"It is therefore necessary that we fix this situation and restore the industry for the safety of local labour and businesses throughout the supply chain," he said.

After consulting with pulp-and-paper stakeholders as well as partners in the Federation of Thai Industries, the TPPIA has decided to propose safeguard measures to the Commerce Ministry's Bureau of Trade Interests and Remedies.

"We are now depending on the government to take action to help us shore up the local pulp and paper industry," Montri said.

Thailand consumes about 230,000 tonnes of copier paper per year, for a gross annual value of Bt10 billion. Not long ago only about 1,000 tonnes of copier paper was imported per month, but recently that has soared to 4,000 tonnes, sometimes as high as 6,000 tonnes, per month. This sharp increase has significantly diluted the Thai business, which depends on local demand for 19,000 tonnes of copier paper a month.

Imported paper, which used to have a 5-per-cent market share, is now approaching 30 per cent as a result of oversupplies in China and Indonesia as well as anti-dumping measures imposed by Australia. Thailand's zero tariff for imported paper, compared with 3-20 per cent in other Asean countries, is also a big reason for these foreign oversupplies pouring into this country, the TPPIA says.


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