Sri Lanka Tea Sector Opposes Doubling Corporate Tax Rate

Joydeep Phukan Principal Officer and Secretary of Indias Tea Research Association

Tea News for the week ending October 28

The proposed increase to a maximum of 30% from 24% of earnings is needed to qualify for a $2.9 billion bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The only sector earning significant foreign exchange revenue is Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Production is down by 20%, but growers are getting record prices at auction. The tea sector generated $819 million during the first eight months and is on track to earn around $1.2 billion, comparable to the $1.3 billion in 2021 exports. In an open letter published Oct. 17,  the Tea Export Association “earnestly requests the government to maintain the concessionary corporate income tax rate of 14% for the tea sector for its long-term sustainability, which will ultimately bring in much higher growth dividends for the economy.”

| Vietnamese Tea Exports Experience Slow Decline

Vietnamese tea exports declined sharply during COVID and have yet to recover. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, tea exports are down 6.4% by volume to 54,000 metric tons through June 2022. Revenue from tea exports was $94 million, which is 1.3% lower than during the same period last year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade estimated annual revenue from tea exports averaged $173.2 million during the years 2016-2020. At that time, Vietnam accounted for 2.4% of the global value of tea exports.

| Kenya to Expand its Orthodox Tea Capability

Kenya’s new administration is investing millions in its tea sector to generate jobs and boost foreign exchange. Two weeks ago, President William Ruto announced that the government would construct a modern tea processing and packaging facility in Mombasa. Simultaneously the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) asked the government for Ksh800 million ($6 million) to expand production lines at 10 of its 12 orthodox tea factories. KTDA currently produces five million kilos of high-value specialty tea.

| PLUS Joydeep Phukan, the Principal Officer and Secretary of India’s Tea Research Association, discusses a standards update to better align good practices with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Growers worldwide adhere to the Tocklai Tea Research Institute’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. Introduced in September, the new standards will be fully implemented in January 2023.

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