Indian tea exports to Pakistan is set to get a fillip, following the lowering of sales taxes by a steep 11 per cent. Sales tax along with a high level of customs duty and some local imposts have rendered Indian teas uncompetitive in Pakistan. This is now expected to get corrected to a large extent.

“This will provide a huge boost to Indian exports of black tea to Pakistan,” Azim Monem, Chairman, Exports and Domestic Sales Sub-Committee of the Indian Tea Association said. ITA Chairman C. S. Bedi, too, welcomed the development saying that Pakistan was now keen to buy all types of Indian tea.

Ullas Menon, Secretary of the United Planters' Association of Southern India, said, “Genuine buyers would now get value for their money”. Bulk of the 24 million kg of tea that Pakistan imports goes from South India.

Mohammad Hanif Janoo, Chairman of the Pakistan Tea Association, told The Hindu that sales tax had been reduced to 5 per cent from 16 per cent and this would boost tea imports from India. “Import of good teas from India will increase,” he said, adding that Pakistan's legal tea imports would now “increase from 125 million kg to around 170 million kg.”

It may be mentioned that amid the positive spirit now ruling between the two countries, in April 2012, a pact was sealed between the industry representatives of India and Pakistan to double tea exports to 50 million kg by 2015.

Pakistan is one of the top three tea importing nations with a consumption of 220 million kg and an official import of 120 million kg. Its main supplier is Kenya. “ We are hopeful that India's share will grow… tea consumption is growing in Pakistan where it is a food item,” Mr. Janoo, leader of a 13-member delegation, had said at a pressmeet here in April.

Mr. Monem said Pakistan was now showing a preference for value-added teas and samples had been sent. He said these were mostly made of fannings of which there was surplus in India.

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