Chi­nese tea ex­ports sta­ble as de­mand firm, po­ten­tial huge

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business - LI ZHONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

China is ex­pected to ex­port 300,000 met­ric tons of tea leaves by the end of 2018 out of 2.8 mil­lion tons of out­put. De­mand in Europe, the United States and emerg­ing economies such as Africa re­mains sta­ble, ac­cord­ing the China Tea Mar­ket­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, a non-gov­ern­ment in­dus­trial union.

“Tra­di­tional des­ti­na­tions like Europe, the United States and Africa will re­main the dom­i­nat­ing con­sump­tion des­ti­na­tions, but there is more po­ten­tial to dig,” said Wang Qing, head of the CTMA. “Ex­ports are at a sta­ble level of around 300,000 tons this year, with to­tal value reach­ing about $1.5 bil­lion.”

Wang said the Chi­nese tea in­dus­try was fac­ing a new “historical op­por­tu­nity” as the coun­try has been work­ing on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Zhang Lim­ing, deputy head of the Tea In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Guang­dong, also pre­dicted a sta­ble ex­port per­for­mance this year.

He said although the mar­kets in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive economies have in­creased, tak­ing costs into con­sid­er­a­tion, the ex­port vol­ume will re­main at a sta­ble level at about 300,000 tons.

Ac­cord­ing to China cus­toms data, in the first three quar­ters of 2018, China ex­ported 263,000 tons of tea, up 0.29 per­cent year-on-year. It was worth $1.28 bil­lion, up 10.41 per­cent year-on-year.

Green tea was the most pop­u­lar cat­e­gory among var­i­ous teas that China of­fered to the world, ac­count­ing for 83 per­cent of the ex­ports.

Vol­umes of pu’er tea ex­ports grew al­most 21 per­cent although in terms of ab­so­lute fig­ures, the va­ri­ety ac­counted for just 2,204 tons.

Malaysia ap­pears to be a promis­ing mar­ket for pu’er ex­ports, ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers. “Be­fore 2000, Malaysians didn’t drink pu’er. But now, it’s the most pop­u­lar Chi­nese tea in Malaysia,” said Liu Jun­guang, head of the Tea Trade As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia.

He fur­ther said on av­er­age, a Malaysian con­sumes 900 grams of tea an­nu­ally, and the na­tional con­sump­tion ex­ceeds the na­tional pro­duc­tion vol­ume, mak­ing it a po­ten­tial ex­port mar­ket for Chi­nese tea com­pa­nies.

“Malaysia is strongly in fa­vor of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. We hope more Chi­nese tea com­pa­nies can bring more tea, es­pe­cially those from Moun­tain E’mei, to Malaysia,” he said.

“Ex­port data of the last five years shows that the com­pound an­nual growth rates of ex­port vol­ume and value were 2.19 per­cent and 6.6 per­cent re­spec­tively,” said Wan Fux­i­ang, deputy head of the tea pro­mo­tion com­mit­tee of the China As­so­ci­a­tion for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Agri­cul­tural Co­op­er­a­tion.

“The num­ber has been grow­ing but just at a less sat­is­fy­ing pace. To top the ex­port num­ber, we need to first ex­pand the mar­ket and sec­ond, (we need) to in­crease the value.”

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