The government is planning to impose anti-dumping duty on import of powdered milk in the backdrop of local producers recent demand to protect the local industry and ensure fair price of nutrient-rich liquid food.
Industry insiders said substandard and cheap powdered milk imported by a section of traders is harmful to human health. Besides, local milk producers and farmers have been losing their market due to import of powdered milk. They recently urged the government to impose anti-dumping duty import of powdered milk to protect the local milk industry.
According to department of livestock services (DLS), importers bring in 65,000 tonnes of powdered milk annually. The value of imported powdered milk is approximately Tk 25 billion. Presently, importers have to pay 25 per cent customs duty on import of powdered milk.
According to DLS, the volume of the country’s milk production is 9.4 million tonnes from 2.9 million tonnes eight years back. The production is however 5.6 million tonne short of local demand as per WHO which estimates country’s demand for milk is 15 million tonnes. WHO recommends 250 ml milk consumption per person every day, but current capacity can provide 158 ml milk per head a day.
Powder milk are providing cheaper options for the local consumers as one kg of powder milk can generate eight kg of milk, the price of per kg milk is only Tk 32/35. Heavily subsidized powder milk allows the importer to sell at half of the liquid milk price which makes the market uneven for the liquid milk producers.
Earlier on May 06, country’s dairy farmers association (BDFA) demanded imposition of 50 percent duty on import of powdered milk from the next fiscal year to help protect the local industry. They also sought imposition of anti-dumping duty on imported powdered milk to protect the industry from unfair competition. According to the BDFA, dairy farmers in New Zealand, Australia and Denmark get 65-70 percent incentives against their production. The highly incentivised produce has been creating uneven and unhealthy competition with local milk as we get no incentives. However, local producers didn’t raise any objection against importing baby milk since they don’t produce the milk locally.
The number of dairy farms increased to 1.2 million from 0.2 million few years back, according to the National Dairy Development Forum (NDDF). Milk Vita are now supplying 0.15 million litres of packet milk every day. Milk Vita is also producing powdered milk. Several privately-owned companies currently produce powdered milk in the country on a limited scale.
The industry insiders added that many of their products remain unsold as low-cost and low-grade imported powdered milk is flooding the market. Imported milk has vegetable fat (like palm oil fat) which might be harmful to both adults and children.
According to the Customs Acts, 1969, “Imposition of anti-dumping duty (1) where any goods are exported from any country or territory (hereinafter in this section referred to as the exporting country or territory) to Bangladesh at less than the normal value, then, upon the importation of such goods into Bangladesh, the government may, by notification in the official gazette, impose an anti-dumping duty not exceeding the margin of dumping in relation to such goods.”