Iranian private tea producers protest imports from India
Members of an Iranian tea factories' syndicate are up in arms over a trip in late July by a delegation of high-ranking officials from Gilan Province to India, at the end of which it was announced that 10,000 tons of Indian tea would be purchased by Iranian interests, reported Abrar. The delegation to India had included the governor general of Gilan Province, and the governors of the cities of Lahijan and Amlash, both which are centers of Iran’s tea industry.
The head of the syndicate, Ebrahim Chabok, described the news of the foreign tea purchase as very worrisome. He said that provincial authorities are providing a foothold in the country for foreign manufacturers, instead of helping create a market for Iranian-produced tea.
Chabok, whose organization represents private tea producers, made his remarks against the backdrop of a dispute with the state-run Tea Organization, which he said is resisting plans for restructuring that had be dictated by Iran’s reformist government.
Chabok said that agricultural and commercial activities were being transferred to the private sector, but where the tea industry was concerned commercial responsibility still belongs to the Tea Organization, and the private sector is not capable of competing successfully.
According to Chabok, the public sector still enjoys benefits that private producers are denied, such as the unlimited issuance of tea purchase orders, which use foreign exchange allocated by the government.
Chabok declared that the decision to purchase tea may sabotage plans to restructure the tea sector, and could be the catalyst for destroying domestic tea production. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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