Jute millers, spinners demand duty imposition on raw jute export

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A file photo shows a man carrying jute fibres at a market on the outskirts of Dhaka. Jute millers and spinners on Wednesday demanded that the government impose $250 a tonne in duty on export of raw jute and ban export of uncut raw jute to ensure adequate supply of raw materials to local factories. — New Age photo

Jute millers and spinners on Wednesday demanded that the government impose $250 a tonne in duty on export of raw jute and ban export of uncut raw jute to ensure adequate supply of raw materials to local factories.

The Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) and the Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) made the demands at a press conference held at the Hotel Lakeshore in the capital.

The association also expressed apprehension that the production of jute goods might severely be affected due to a shortage of raw jute and the disruption would raise the prices of the items to an excessively high level on the market.

‘Local jute mills will face severe crisis of raw jute from January or February next year unless the demands are met,’ BJMA chairman Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman Patwari said at the briefing.

Local mills would not get required raw jute to continue their production throughout the year if export is not discouraged as production of raw jute dropped significantly this year due to late cultivation, draught and floods, he said.

Bangla Tossa Rejection and Bangla White Rejection are the two varieties of uncut raw jute.

‘We may lose international buyers of jute goods if the production is hampered due to scarcity of raw jute,’ he said, adding that the local exporters might also lose competitiveness due to high price of raw jute.

Jute goods manufacturers from other countries would grab the export market using Bangladeshi raw jute, the prime raw material for jute goods, he said.

The government should discourage the export of raw jute to save the local industry, he added.

BJSA chairman Md Zahid Miah said that as per their assumption jute production might come down to only 55 lakh bales this year, 36 per cent or 20 lakh bales lower than that of average annual jute production of 75 lakh bales, he said.

The local jute and spinning mills have annual demand for raw jute of 60 lakh bales and another 5 lakh bales are required for domestic consumption, he said.

The prices of raw jute increased up to Tk 2,750 a mound following possible gap in demand and supply, he said.

Higher price of raw jute will push the cost of production of jute products and the country may lose export market of finished goods due to high cost of production and shortage of raw jute, which is the main raw material for the industry, he said.

He said that the millers had already been in competition to buy raw jute at higher prices in the pick season of the product to ensure uninterrupted production at their factories.

If the situation continues, there may be a situation in the coming days when the millers would not find raw jute on the market to buy, he said.

He said that many jute mills might suspend production in January and February due to a shortage of raw jute.

The millers would also not find raw jute on the international market as India is also planning to continue the operation throughout the year, he said.

Zahid said that though India imposed anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh jute goods, it did not impose the duty on raw jute as they needed the item to produce diversified jute products.

Leaders of the associations also said that the government should decide whether it would earn $900 by exporting a tonne of raw jute or earn up to $10,000 through exporting finished products.

Bangladesh Jute Goods Exporters Association president Sajjad Hussain Sohel, BJSA vice-chairman Farian Yusuf, director Mohammed Nazmul Huq, BJSA member Kazi Enam Ahmed, Creation Private Ltd managing director Rashedul Karim Munna, among others, were present at the briefing.

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