According to the cultural correspondent of Tasnim News Agency, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, during his visit to the book fair during 2012-2014, repeatedly stressed the need for domestic paper production and the removal of existing barriers to production. After this concern from the Supreme Leader, the doors of the factories which were close for years opened again, and the private and public sectors focused on the production of writing paper, which was the main need of the country and our connecting point to imports. But it did not take long for the production of writing paper to stop and the product lines manufactured substitute products. The government, on the other hand, paid its full attention to imports so that billions of dollars were spent on paper imports during the years when the foreign currency was scarce, sometimes medicine could not take advantage of foreign currency for imports. The currency for paper imports that in many cases did not reach their destination went into the pockets of the externally non-existent names.
Today, paper producers are enduring extreme hardship, because the production of writing paper, which was reviving in the late 1990s with the establishment of the largest manufacturing plant in the Middle East, has now reached zero after 10 years, neither the private nor the public sector is willing to invest in it.
The recklessness of the Rouhani government has led the government not to know what measure to take for supplying the foreign currencies for the imports of writing paper with cultural consumption. Publishers and other members of the paper consumer community have long bowed to rising prices on paper market due to the rise of global paper prices and the increase in the exchange rates and face no boom in their businesses.
However, the point that paper producers have been emphasizing for years is to create equal competition between production and imports. If the increase in import tariffs had been taken seriously, if the value added tax of imports of raw materials had been zero, or at least if value added tax for imports had been taken into account, the writing paper machines in the country would not have been shut down today.
In an interview with Tasnim, Mahshid Pourdad, the secretary of the Syndicate of Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers, said, "The only demand of the producers from the future government is to remove the value added tax from the import of raw materials."
Purdad continued, "The only demand we paper producers have of the future government is to zero the added value tax of production. This is our demand while the import of writing paper is exempt from added value tax, but producers have to pay 9% of the value added tax from the beginning to the end to import the raw materials for their production, and when they reach the production of writing paper, they cannot receive this value added tax from their consumers. This is the biggest bug in the paper production system in the country; that is why the production of writing paper is not economical for producers."
Referring to other problems of the writing paper industry in the country, she states, "'If the future government takes this one measure, the rest of the problems will be solved. Producers currently do not intend to produce writing paper at all because no matter how hard they try, they still 9% behind imports, and it is not economical to produce writing paper for them."