Bangladesh has planned to launch a campaign to explore newer markets for jute products, fearing a setback in their exports to India, a major destination of the items, State Minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam said today.
"Bangladesh may face huge economic loss as India recently imposed an anti-dumping law against import of jute produces from our country," he told a media briefing, coinciding with the opening of Jute Diversification Promotion Center (JDPC).
But, the junior minister said, the government took a series of initiatives to protect Bangladesh's jute markets that included negotiation with New Delhi to "put in our efforts to get India reverse its decision".
According to Azam, Bangladesh decided to lodge an appeal against the enactment of the anti-dumping law as part of legal initiatives alongside negotiation at official and political levels.
Azam expected that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming New Delhi visit could yield a positive result in reversing Indian decision which has been seen as "protectionist measure" by the next door neighbor to favour their own jute business. The junior minister said in an effort to negate the possible impact of Indian decision "we are looking for newer jute market in different African countries and Australia".
"To face the possible export loss, the government already has implemented the mandatory packaging law for marketing of six essential products which have ensured use of huge raw jute internally," he said.
Moreover, Azam said, the government also earmarked another 11 items which to be brought under the packaging law.
Officials concerned said Bangladesh annually exports around one lakh tonnes jute goods to India.
Officials of the ministry including Executive Director of JDPC Nasima Begum and Chairman of Standing Committee on Export on Non-Traditional Items Mohammad Rashedul Karim Munna, among others, were present at the press conference.
India imposed the restriction as its jute goods producers alleged that Bangladeshi manufacturers got huge subsidies and dumped jute products in the Indian market.
Indian Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGDA) has recommended imposition of a wide range of specific anti-dumping duties on three types of Bangladeshi jute products---jute yarn, jute sack and jute bag.
For jute yarn, Bangladesh Exporters are likely to face anti-dumping duties between $19 and $162 per tonne, while the amount is $352 for per tone of jute hessian $352 and and amount between $125 and $139 for each tone of jute bags.
These three items now enjoy duty-free access to India under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).