09:01 | 09/07/2018 Industry
(VEN) - According to the Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association (VPPA), despite a 60 percent increase in paper output in the first four months of this year compared with the same period in 2017, material scarcity remains a serious problem for the paper industry.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade says the paper sector still depends heavily on pulp imports. Wastepaper accounts for 70 percent of materials for paper production, and the sector has to import nearly 50 percent of this material.
A VPPA report shows that in the first four months of 2018, the sector imported 465,000 tonnes of materials for high-grade packaging and paper production, five percent more than in the same period in 2017. These materials were imported mostly from Indonesia, Malaysia and some European countries. Pulp imports from China accounted for a small percentage. While it has very high demand for paper materials and products, China has closed a number of paper mills, leading to supply shortages and price rises. In early May 2018, newsprint prices varied between VND17.5-18.5 million per tonne, an increase by VND1.5-2.5 million per tonne compared with December 2017; writing paper prices VND23.5-24 million per tonne, up by VND4-4.5 million per tonne.
Representatives from packaging production enterprises said that despite difficulties due to material scarcity and price rises, they had to fulfill orders on schedule to maintain relations with partners and clients.
To overcome its difficulties, the paper sector needs to intensify the application of advanced technologies in production to increase labor productivity and improve product quality in order to enhance business competitiveness. Material production areas should be developed to ensure sufficient supplies for pulp processing plants. Tran Duc Thinh, Chairman of the Board at the Tan Mai Group Joint Stock Company, believes efforts to increase the local content ratio will help domestic companies compete with foreign rivals in the home market.
According to VPPA, appropriate policies should be put in place to promote forestation and technology application in production to create high-quality products and protect the environment. Cooperation between people and businesses, as well as linkages among companies in the paper sector, should be encouraged.
The state should create favorable conditions for businesses to access credit loans to invest in modernizing paper production and developing material areas.
Under its development plan until 2020, with a vision towards 2025, the Vietnamese paper sector expects to raise the
percentage of used paper collected for recycling to 65 percent; meet 75-80 percent of domestic consumer demand;
reduce material imports; and gradually eliminate paper and pulp plants with a capacity of less than 10,000 tonnes per