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Tea growers want 20pc tax on import

04 March 2014

BSS, Dhaka :
Bangladesh Tea Association (BTA) on Monday demanded reinstatement of 20 percent supplementary duty on tea import to protect the local producers.
BTA leaders met Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his ministry and put forward the demand to him to save the local growers from the uneven competition with imported tea.
BTA leaders said at present the importers have to pay 61 percent duty on tea import while in neighbouring India the duty is 110 percent on the import.
The NBR withdrew the 20 percent supplementary duty in the budget for the current financial year (2013-2014). It was imposed in the Finance Bill-2012.
According to the BTA, import of tea increased to 10.62 million kg in 2013 from 1.92 million kg imported in 2012 due to the withdrawal of supplementary duty.
The BTA told the finance minister that the local tea producers are facing tough competition due to import of substandard and cheap tea from different countries taking the advantage of withdrawal of supplementary duty.
Local producers are not getting fair price as imported tea is cheap and a significant quantity of locally produced tea remained unsold at every auction in Chittagong, they added.
According to the BTA, Bangladesh annually produces around 62 million kg tea against the average internal demand for 56 million kg.
Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) sources said there are 165 tea estates in the country situated in Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Habiganj, Chittagong, Rangamati, Brahmanbaria and Panchagarh. Of them, 91 tea gardens are in Moulvibazar, 22 in Habiganj, 19 in Sylhet, 22 in Chittagong, 9 in Panchagarh and one each in Rangamati and Brahmanbaria.
BTB data showed that though tea production had increased significantly in last four decades, tea export had been declining over the years mainly because of increased domestic consumption.
Bangladesh exported only 1.11 million kg of tea in 2012 against 18.10 million kg in 2000.
BTA leaders said the volume of export fell drastically mainly due to increase in domestic consumption.

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