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September 1, 2008

Vietnam Paper group alls for tariff removal from Asean imports
The Vietnam Paper and Pulp Association (VPPA) has asked the Finance Ministry to eliminate the tariff on printing paper imports from Asean countries, reported state news agency VNA.

The Association said the request aims to stabilise the paper industry, which is suffering from strong demand and limited supply in an era of rising resource costs. The current tariff runs at 5 percent.

At present, domestic paper producers can only fulfil 60 per cent of market demand for printing paper, estimated to top nearly 2 million tonnes this year.

The remaining demand is met through pulp imports, said the association.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam imported 118,000 tonnes of pulp, worth $2 million, a 66 percent rise in volume and 86 percent hike in value over last year.

During the same period, Vietnam imported $471 million worth of processed paper products, representing a 40 per cent increase in value from 2007.

According to the association, paper will remain in short supply until the third quarter of this year at the earliest.

Strong demand for paper products in China and India has put upward pressure on international paper prices which are roughly $800 per tonne, and forecast to increase further.

However, from next year, the association said, a sharp rise in the domestic printing paper supply will ease demand pressure, likely resulting in decreasing prices.

Vietnam aims to produce 570,000 tonnes of paper by 2011.

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