Export of Paper and Paper Products Surges by 85% in Bangladesh

Export of Paper and Paper Products Surges by 85% in Bangladesh

In a significant economic development, the export of paper and paper products from Bangladesh has seen an impressive surge of 85 percent year-on-year in the first two months of the fiscal year 2023-24. This surge comes as Bangladesh secures a larger share of the global market due to reduced competition from other major players.

According to data from the Export Promotion Bureau, export earnings from the paper and paper products sector reached an impressive $39.79 million in the period spanning July to August of the current fiscal year. This remarkable growth is attributed to the country’s ability to capitalize on reduced competition in the global market.

While this export boom is certainly welcome news for Bangladesh, manufacturers are grappling with challenges in meeting the heightened demand. The ongoing foreign currency crisis in the country is hindering manufacturers from opening letters of credit for procuring raw materials, thereby affecting their ability to keep up with the surging demand.

The United States and various countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are major export destinations for paper and paper products produced locally in Bangladesh, according to the Bangladesh Paper Mills Association (BPMA). Notably, China, India, and Japan were once among the major suppliers in this sector. However, many of their paper mills have shut down due to environmental concerns, allowing Bangladesh to grab a larger share of the market.

BPMA Secretary Nawsherul Alam highlighted that buyers are continually seeking high-quality products at competitive prices, an area in which Bangladesh has excelled, offering a wide range of paper products. Notable exports in this category include toilet paper, napkins, diapers, and more.

Industry insiders have noted that export shipments began to increase rapidly after the government introduced a 10 percent cash incentive on export receipts from the sector in 2016.

Bangladesh boasts approximately 100 paper mills with a combined annual output of over 15 lakh tonnes. Some prominent industrial groups within the country are making substantial contributions to the sector by introducing new varieties of paper products.

Bashundhara, a local industry pioneer, stands out as the largest exporter among 20 mills, exporting writing paper, facial tissue, toilet paper, and packaging materials to approximately 40 countries.

Abdul Jabbar Khan, Managing Director of Asia Paper Mills Ltd, explained that Bangladesh is capitalizing on the supply dearth caused by reduced production in other sourcing destinations like Japan and China. Additionally, private manufacturers in Bangladesh are dominating the sector, as the government has yet to adopt modern technologies for producing high-quality paper and paper products.

MM Nurun Nabi, Executive Director of Partex Paper Mills Ltd, expressed optimism about Bangladesh’s performance in the competitive international market for various paper products. However, he noted that difficulties in procuring raw materials like pulps, amid the supply crunch for the US greenback, have hindered the production of writing paper.

Mohammad Sharafath Ali, Deputy General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Amber Super Paper Ltd, echoed similar sentiments. He stated that due to challenges in opening letters of credit, they had to halt exports during the pandemic period, affecting the production and export process. The company produces writing paper, printing paper, and other related products.

Despite these challenges, Bangladesh continues to make its mark in the global paper and paper products market, contributing significantly to the country’s overall export basket.

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