Economy, Domestic Economy

Plan to Raise Paper Import Tariff Opposed

Plan to Raise Paper Import Tariff OpposedPlan to Raise Paper Import Tariff Opposed

The talk of tariff hikes on paper imports never fails to send shivers down the spine of most consumers, particularly newspapers. 

Groups ranging from publishers to newspaper owners to paper associations are all against the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade’s plan to increase import tariff on paper from 5% to 10% this year. 

The Industries Ministry’s last year proposal submitted to Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on raising import tariffs from 5% to 14%, in a bid to protect domestic production, failed to fly as it met with the objection of the representatives of paper consumers’ guilds and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.   

In a meeting with the Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Reza Salehi-Amiri said he continues to disapprove of a tariff hike on paper imports, noting that any such move would give rise to an array of problems for the domestic publishing industry. 

According to Hossein Mirbaqeri, the head of the Association of Paper and Paperboard Sellers, domestic production can only meet up to 25% of paper consumption in Iran. 

Citing the low quality of locally-produced papers, he said he believes the newly proposed tariff hike is not going to take effect. 

“Newspapers will be the first to suffer from the consequent rise in paper price,” he has been quoted as saying by ISNA. 

As for coated paper, the entire domestic demand amounting to 40,000 tons annually are supplied by imports.

Foreign products also meet 70% of the domestic need for cardboard, which stands at 300,000-400,000 tons per year, according to the head of Paper and Cardboard Producers Syndicate.

“These products are mainly imported from Indonesia, China, South Korea and European countries,” Abolfazl Roghani added, noting that the market monopolization by foreign brands has stymied any competition, giving rise to unreasonably high prices.

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