Sri Lanka is to increase its value added tea exports to Russia next year with a view to taking advantage of duty reductions there following its entry in to the World Trade Organization. Addressing a ceremony in Colombo this week organized to present awards to winners of the 'Ceylon Speciality Estate Tea of the Year Contest' held in Moscow to promote specialty Ceylon Tea, Plantations Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that Russia would bring down duty for value-added teas exported from Sri Lanka from a high of 20 % at present to around 12.5 %.
“We have to get ready to take advantage on the reduction of duty," he said. Sri Lankan value added tea exports to Russia is around 17% while 68 to 70 % is being exported in bulk form.
Mr. Samarasinghe said Russia was an advanced industrialized country with a middle class of almost 75 million people and a per capita income of nearly US$16,000. The country will have to explore this increasingly sophisticated market, he added. Sri Lanka plans to implement a pragmatic marketing plan to increase the Ceylon Tea market share in Russia and it will organize many tea promotion events commencing from next year to achieve this objective.
He pointed out that a sum of US$ 50 million has been accumulated in the fund set up by him in consultations with all stakeholders in the tea industry by levying Rs. 3.50 on a kg of tea and it will be used to promote value added tea in the international market.