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Laos Seeks Help From Indian Tea Expertise

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Calcutta – The Laos government has sought help from the Indian tea industry to promote the tea grown in that country.

“Indian tea is famous across the world and we want to leverage their expertise to enhance and commercialise our industry,” said Manohack Rasachack, director-general of the ministry of industry and commerce, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, at a recent event organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce here.

The southeast Asian nation produces about 10,000 tonnes of tea annually, which is mostly exported to China.

“We have plantations in the northern and southern parts of Laos. Our tea is targeted mainly for the Chinese market and the trees are nearly 500 years old. Consumption of tea in our country is very low and hence, we are looking to promote it for exports,” said Oudet Souvannavong, chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) business advisory council.

“Since Laos is a member of Asean, we can cater to the requirements of tea consumers of the entire region but for that we need to build more capacity and import India’s knowledge to produce quality tea such as Darjeeling and Assam,” he said.

“Before making any investment in any country, the commercial viability of tea needs to be assessed and if that is satisfactory no business should hesitate to make a move,” said a renowned tea exporter.

Timber exports

Laos has put a restriction on exports of timber and wood products as a measure to protect their environment. The move has spelt trouble for many foreign investors, including Indian companies such as Century Plyboards.

“In May, we had banned exports of timber and wood products to ensure sustainability and protect our power sector, which contributes 10 per cent to our GDP. We are allowing limited exports under strict supervision of government officials,” said Rasachak.

There are about 40 veneer manufacturing units, 50 per cent of which comprises foreign investors.

Source: The Telegraph India