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Iraq invites Indian companies to tea festival.

Date: 08-11-2021
Subject: Iraq invites Indian companies to tea festival
After a hiatus of about 10 years, Iraq may open doors to Indian tea.

The Baghdad Chamber of Commerce has invited Indian tea companies to participate in the first tea festival in Iraq which will be held at the end of this month. This will help the Indian tea companies that produce around 1,400 million kg of tea a year to network with Iraqi buyers and regain the lost market.

Confirming the invitation, Sujit Patra, secretary of the Indian Tea Association (ITA), said, "Iraq had been a major market for Indian tea till 2006. But subsequently, due to various issues which included a delay in payment, Indian exports gradually dwindled and came to a complete halt around 2011-2012."

The Iraqi government used to procure tea from India under the UN's food-for-oil scheme. In those days, Iraq used to import around 80 million kg of tea, including 40-45 million kg from India. However, since 2007, Sri Lanka has replaced India as the top supplier and currently accounts for more than 80% of the Iraq market. Meanwhile, Indian exporters gradually lost all contacts with Iraqi buyers.

Following the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce's invitation, the Embassy of India in Baghdad has approached the Tea Board for participation along with Indian tea companies in the tea festival on November 28-29.

The ITA executive said the two countries enjoy long-standing trade, cultural and political relationships. India has sufficient supplies of the type of tea that Iraq imports, and at various price points. "To regain the lost Iraq market, ITA has requested the Tea Board and Indian embassy's active support to rebuild confidence and relation with the Iraqi buyers. We hear that some Indian teas enter Iraq through Dubai, but there are no direct exports. Therefore, direct export needs to be restored," Patra said.

India's tea exports were at an all-time low of 119 million kg during January-August this year. The shipments for this period last year totalled 135 million kg.


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