The Telegraph
Monday , February 17 , 2014
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Tea talks with Iran

Trade winds

Calcutta, Feb. 16: The representatives of the tea industry will be in Iran from March 2-6 to strengthen trade ties and gain a stronger foothold in a key export market, shipments to which have doubled between January and September last year.

A delegation comprising key members of the Indian Tea Association (ITA) and led by Tea Board chairman Siddharth Singh will visit Tehran to negotiate with Iranian importers, blenders, packeters and meet top customs and central bank officials.

The Centre’s triple five scheme had earlier mandated the Tea Board to push exports in five countries — Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Egypt and the US— and list five strategies for as many years.

High up on the agenda will be the resolution of issues regarding an import duty of 19 per cent in Iran.

“Iran is a 100 million kg market, 90 per cent of which is good orthodox tea, while about 10 per cent is crush, tear, curl (CTC). We signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran in March 2013 to achieve a target of 30 million kg in exports from India in two years. We feel we are already on way to hitting the mark by the end of this calendar year,” said Azam Monem, additional vice-chairman of the ITA.

“The Iranian market is a quality market and there is a good chance for Assam orthodox tea. They mostly take tea from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. They also take a little CTC from Kenya,” said Sujit Patra, joint secretary, the ITA.