South Korea shows interest in Indian tea
South India Tea Exporters Association hosted a delegation from South Korea who came to visit tea plantations in Coonoor.
The objective of four-member delegation’s visit is to explore the possibility of tea imports to South Korea, which is a virgin market with shipments being only 250 tonnes so far, said Dipak Shah, Chairman of South India Tea Exporters Association.
The team, headed by Shawn S. Jung, president of the Tea Association of Korea, also visited Crystal Tea India Pvt Ltd, specialists in value-added teas of different flavors.
According to Shah, the intention of the Korean delegation is to get an appraisal of the tea quality of different regions. Earlier, they visited some tea plantations in North India.
Though South Korea imports a minimal quantity of tea, he said the high import duty for black tea (40 per cent) and green tea (515 per cent) is posing a hindrance for Indian tea manufacturing companies to enter South Korean markets. There are no such duties in many other countries.
From coffee to tea
Shah also pointed out that South Korea is a good market for bag teas, loose tea and ready-to-drink tea, where a lot of brew is used. The Korean delegation also tasted teas and samples and has assured their plans to enter into business opportunities with the tea producing companies in South India.
Achint Kumar Sinha, Director of Silkroad Tour (India) Pvt Ltd, who worked as an interpreter for the Korean delegation, told BusinessLine that the Korean team is quite satisfied with Indian tea and they wanted it to promote in their country. South Korea was the largest coffee-drinking country and the current trendis shifting toward tea, which the Korean authorities would like to promote. The Indian Embassy in South Korea has made arrangements for the visit of the Tea Association of Korea to India entrusting Tea Board to taste different kinds of tea, especially Assam and Nilgris.
The high duty structure for import teas was discussed and the Korean team has given assurance to offer discounts for imports provided the consignment comes with proper government documents, Sinha said.
September 15, 2022