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Increased tea import detrimental to domestic market: UPASI

Increased tea import detrimental to domestic market: UPASI
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Coimbatore, July 5 (PTI): The United Planters

Association of Southern India (UPASI) on Monday expressed

concern over the increased import of tea as the association

said it would be detrimental to the tea market in the

country.

Tea is an important agro industry that employs 2.12 lakh

growers and 11.65 lakh workers, of which more than 70 per

cent are women.

Fifty per cent of the production in the country come

from the small grower sector, UPASI president Prashant

Bhansali said in a statement here.

The plantation commodities, including tea, were exposed

to international competition since April 2001, when the

quantitative restrictions were lifted as per the commitments

under the WTO (World Trade Organisaition.

The signing of the ASEAN Agreement in 2009 had further

opened up the Indian tea market to the plantation producing

countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. Under the ASEAN pact,

import duties were gradually reduced since 2009 for tea and

the current import tariff for ASEAN countries, viz. Indonesia

and Vietnam is 45 per cent.

Import of tea from Nepal under SAFTA is nil duty.

The imports during 2020 were estimated at 23.40 million kg

as against 15.85 million kg in the previous year, an increase

of 47.63 per cent, Bhansali said.

During the first quarter of this year [calendar], the

import has shown a significant jump of 139.36 per cent and

imports of increased quantities are reported from Kenya,

Nepal and Vietnam, he said.

The domestic tea sector has been witnessing increasing

cost of production due to high input cost and high wage cost

and any higher intake of tea through import would have a

telling effect on the sector which caters to a large segment

of population residing in remote areas, he said.

The Central government should closely monitor import of

tea and also implement provisions of Tea [Distribution &

Export] Control Order 2005, wherever necessary, he said.

On the other hand, tea exports had taken a hit as evident

from the decline in the quantity exported and the value

realised.

The export was lower by 42,430 tonnes in 2020 and

declining trend continued during the first four months of

2021.

Though, there was some recovery expected on the export

front, the shortage of containers, especially food grade

containers and increased freight charges, had turned out to

be an obstacle for plantation exports, including tea from

India.

This has resulted in an increase in the transaction time

and cost leading to a considerable delay in completing the

export formalities.

This could damage the green shoots of recovery seen on the

export front, he said.

In the midst of these disadvantages, the non-payment of

Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) from April 1,

2020 and dis-continuation of the scheme itself from December

31, 2020 without any new incentive scheme in place had added

further difficulty to the existing distressed situation, he

said.

Though, the government had announced that RoDTEP (Remission

of Duties Taxes on Export Products) would be implemented with

effect from January 1 this year, the rates for the plantation

commodities are yet to be finalised.

The exporters'' factor in export benefits/rates while

quoting the prices to the overseas buyers.

Any mid-way changes to the export incentive scheme without

even finalising the incentive rates under the new scheme

would put the exporters to great difficulty.

The lower budgetary allocation for the export incentive

scheme in the Union Budget 2021-22 is also a matter of

concern, he said.

The export of plantation commodities needs to be supported

as the country is at a competitive dis-advantage compared to

other export origins due to the infrastructural in-

efficiencies, high wages and social costs, Bhansali said.

PTI NVM

NVG NVG


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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