With the Bangladesh government announcing incentives for jute exports from that country to India, manufacturers here, under the aegis of the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), are planning to file an anti-dumping case against such exports.
Sanjay Kajaria, former chairman and committee member, IJMA, said the fact that the Bangladesh government has been subsiding exports to India was hurting the Indian market.
Between April and August this year, the import of jute yarn and twine increased 65 per cent year-on-year, jute bags 28 per cent and jute cloth and related products seven per cent, according to IJMA. Meanwhile, Indian jute exporters are facing stiff competition. During the April-September period this year, the volume of exports fell 11 per cent compared to the year-ago period. In recent months, exports had fallen due to higher exports by Bangladesh and instability in West Asia, a major market for Indian jute exporters, said Kajaria.
Bangladesh has been offering 10 per cent export subsidy on all jute products. The country’s jute mills and exporters receive 40 per cent and 20 per cent of their fund requirement, respectively, from government banks. Also, China is collaborating with the Bangladesh government to fund modernising initiatives for 23 jute mills.
Kajaria said imported jute bags and jute cloth were being supplied for government orders to package food grains, a violation of the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packing Commodities) Act , 1987).
In July this year, the office of the jute commissioner had asked all jute importers from Nepal and Bangladesh to register with it. It had also said unregistered imports— those without the name of the country of origin— should not be allowed to enter India. Earlier, jute importers had sought relaxation in norms for labelling products according to the country of origin, a plea rejected by the government.
In India, jute mills have been struggling for survival. Due to outdated technology, mills have often failed to supply jute bags for packaging sugar and food grains on time. Owing to the delays, the government had diluted the JPMA Act, reserving the packaging norms for food grains alone.