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Gulf Sees Containerboard Growth, Unites Against Dumping

The paper containerboard segment in the Gulf region has been growing between 3 to 4%, above the global average of 2.5%, shored up by strong GDP growth, evolution of e-commerce, and growing population, says industry experts.

“We are seeing the containerboard industry growing forward with regular investments happening to bridge the gap between demand and supply,” says Sami Safran, President of the Arab Federation for Paper, Printing and Packaging Industries (AFPPPI), and Group President at Saudi-based Middle East Paper Company (MEPCO). “Cost inflation, environmental concerns, availability of raw materials, and policy vacuum are some of the challenges faced by the regional industry, but these are offset by the booming e-commerce industry, economic growth, sustainable solutions, and a large end-user segment.”

The AFPPPI head also said that the containerboard imports to the Middle East stand at 20% and the demand and supply could balance out by 2025, though further imports must be anticipated considering the excellent accessibility to regional markets for overseas suppliers.


“The local paper industry players have come together under AFPPPI seeking support from the government to fight dumping from overseas markets. Companies in the GCC have filed anti-dumping cases against suppliers from France, Germany, and India. Investigations have confirmed cases of physical dumping and this issue will be addressed by putting in place safeguards such as higher duties,” adds Safran.

As a pioneering development in the regional paper industry, a GCC containerboard index has been activated since May last year, which captures market transaction data that is either available as open data in some cases or can be accessed through subscription. The index gives all industry stakeholders – from suppliers to end-users – a facility to leverage and share data regarding prices, transactions, and more, which will help informed decision making for better market stability.

Many prominent players from the regional paper industry have come together under the AFPPPI that is participating in the ongoing ProPaper Dubai 2023 (12-14 September, 2023).

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