Beijing: India made a strong pitch to expand its steadily growing market for black tea in China by organising a tea promotion campaign that officials say would help in scaling up the tea trade between the two countries.

People in China, where tea originated, mainly consumes green teas without milk unlike black Indian tea.

The Indian Embassy here in association with the Tea Board of India and China Tea Marketing Association held the Indian tea promotion event here from October 23 to 25.

During the event, top tea buyers and sellers from both countries met and interacted over the prospects of scaling up tea trade between the two countries.

Anil Kumar Ray, deputy chairman of the Tea Board of India, the leading Indian tea delegation, told the media on Tuesday that India last year exported about nine million tonnes of tea, which constituted about 30% of China’s imports.

The Indian delegation comprising top tea business houses visited China to explore the Chinese market and to expand the export base, he said.

Addressing a seminar attended by tea exporters and importers from both countries on Tuesday, Indian Ambassador to China, Gautam Bambawale, said the tea trade between India and China went back in history. The ancient Tea-Horse trade route connected Yunnan Province in China to tea growing regions of India in West Bengal and Assam, he said.

Today, China is a major producer of green tea with annual production of 2,550 million kilograms. India is a major producer of black tea with annual production of 1,278 million kilograms, he said.

India is the third largest tea exporter to China, he said. Last year, India exported tea worth $25 million to China. The graph is headed upwards as Chinese people begin liking different kinds of tea, he said. With awareness about the medicinal value of tea, the popularity is growing among the youth of both countries.

The Indian delegation introduced five different type of teas from India at the event.

Ray said India had different varieties of teas, including the Darjeeling and Sikkim tea. “China is a very traditional tea drinking nation... they have a very long history of drinking tea expanding to thousands of years. Our teas are new but our varieties are more."

Similarly, exports of Chinese green tea varieties to India were also growing. He said India last year had exported 251 million kilograms of tea. This included Russia (50 million kilograms).

Other countries of Indian exports included Iran, the UAE, the UK, Pakistan, the USA and Egypt.

China makes about 2,500 million kilograms of tea, he said.

The Chinese tea business representative reacted positively to India’s pitch for tea exports to China. Qin Ling, a representative from the Beijing Tea Chamber, told state-run Global Times on Thursday that “Indian tea producers and exporters are using the European Union product standards. Some Chinese companies’ products don’t meet those standards."

Wang Qing, chairman of the China Tea Marketing Association, said India and China had different categories of tea, and standards did not pose a major problem for Chinese tea exports. “The issue is not the standard. China and India have different product structures. China mainly produces strip tea and India mainly produces broken black tea."

Bern Tsang, the business development consultant of Premier’s Tea Limited, whose office is based in Hong Kong, said that he is very optimistic about the Chinese market.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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