THE proposal that the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, the national trade body of the primary textile sector, put forth on May 30 seeking that the government should impose anti-dumping duty on yarns of India and Pakistan to protect local manufacturers from cheap import of the item from the neighbours appears to be an issue that the government should positively respond to. The national trade body has in a letter sent to the finance minister put forth the proposal for the imposition of anti-dumping duty on Indian and Pakistani yarns a week after apparel manufacturers in India proposed the imposition of duty on the import of apparel from Bangladesh to protect India’s domestic industries. The Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India wrote to India’s textile minister on May 22, saying that India’s domestic industries were exposed to threat because of duty-free import from other countries that include Bangladesh. The Bangladesh association, which termed India’s proposal unacceptable, says that India and Pakistan have taken inappropriate initiatives of exporting yarns, fabrics and other textile raw materials at dumping prices to retain their share in the world market during the COVID-19 pandemic that has slowed down business across the world.
The association in Bangladesh, which says that Bangladesh’s import of textile products from India is 1,300 times higher than Bangladesh’s apparel export to India, says that India which is sitting on a stockpile of yarns during the COVID-19 emergency and has started exporting its 40-count combed yarn to Bangladesh at prices lower than the production costs in view of cotton prices on the international market and costs of other components for production. A situation like this has put manufacturers in Bangladesh in an undue competition, which warrants that Bangladesh should adopt a sustainable policy that should include the imposition of anti-dumping duty on the import of yarns to protect the spinning and weaving mills of Bangladesh from the aggressive promotional policy of competing neighbours. The primary textile sector of Bangladesh, with investments to the tune of $8 billion, works as a backward linkage industry and meets the need for knit by 80 per cent and for woven fabrics by 35 per cent of the export-oriented apparel sector. The value of Bangladesh’s apparel export is said to have increased to $35 billion from $26 billion in the past five years because of the use of local raw materials. It is now feared that apparel and textile export of Bangladesh to the European Union could decline by 40 per cent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a situation like this, especially in view of India’s exporting yarns at dumping prices to Bangladesh, the government should impose anti-dumping duty on yarn import from neighbouring competitors to protect the local textile market from an unfair competition by foreign imports. If the government does not act now, it could cause injury, or at least material retardation, in the domestic market of Bangladesh.
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