ITC Seeks Hike in Duty on Wood Imports to 10%

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The Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division of the diversified ITC has taken to large - scale afforestation to develop a local value chain involving the farming community.Highlighting various initiatives of the paper division, ITC has expressed the need to encourage the domestic paper - sector value chain and called for some policy changes to boost the local industry.

Making certain recommendations, Mr Vadiraj Kulkarni, Chief Operating Officer of ITC Paperboards & Specialty Business, said, “India imports $6.8 billion worth of wood and woodbased
products. In order to encourage an indigenous value chain-based paper industry, ITC believes customs duty on wood imports needs to be raised to 10 percent, as the current rate of 5 percent (nil from ASEAN countries under preferential agreements) discourages investment in agroforestry in India.”

“It would also be desirable to extend to agro-forestry all the benefits applicable to agriculture, including unrestricted movement of such produce. In order to support farmer investment, institutional credit needs to be provided in the form of long-term loans, depending on the species being planted,” it stated.

ITC’s pulp mill at Bhadrachalam utilizes pulpwood that is sustainably grown in the country. It not only substitutes imported pulp but also enables the offtake of produce from local tribes and farmers, thereby enhancing their income.

To reduce dependency on specialised imported pulp, which earlier could not be produced in the country, ITC has invested in a first-of-its-kind Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical
Pulp (BCTMP) Plant at Bhadrachalam with a production capacity of 1,00,000 tonne per annum.

It is noted that ITC’s Specialty Papers Division produces print base and solid color paper for Laminate manufacturing. Off late the company has expanded its production capacity by
installing new manufacturing line.

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