India Must Extend Zero Duty on Machine Imports, Tea Group Says

Monojit Dasgupta, secretary general of the Indian Tea Association, comments on the outlook for tea industry and expectations for the federal budget for the year starting April 1 to be announced Feb. 28.

Dasgupta, whose group comprises 200 companies accounting for 400 million kilograms of production, spoke in an interview in Kolkata yesterday.

On duty concessions:

“We would request the government to extend concessional duty on tea-bagging, packaging and tea leaf cutting-rolling machines, to zero for three years from April 1 with no special additional duty.”

On subsidy:

“The orthodox subsidy scheme has helped in correcting the product-mix and enabled availability of more orthodox varieties for sustaining Indian exports. The association would request the government to allocate adequate funds to the commerce ministry to enable the Tea Board to clear the backlog.”

On production outlook:

“The high cost of production in India has been a critical factor impeding India’s competitiveness in tea. Tea production in 2009 touched 981 million kilograms. 2010 will see a sharp decline to around 960 million kilograms due to adverse weather conditions and virulent pest attacks. This will adversely affect the revenue stream of tea companies.”

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