Embassy of India
Ms. K Sunitha, Chairperson of Indian Tobacco Board under the Department of Commerce, Government of India led a delegation of six major tobacco exporters to China from 24th to 28th June 2019. Representatives of ITC Ltd, Deccan Tobacco Company, Godfrey Phillips India Ltd, Premier Tobacco Packers Ltd, M L Exports representing more than 70% of tobacco exports from India were part of the delegation.
On 28th June, the delegation had a bilateral meeting with Mr. Zhang Jianmin,Chief Commissioner of STMA (State Tobacco Monopoly Administration). Ms. Sunitha gave a detailed presentation highlighting the strengths of Indian tobacco. She mentioned that Indian tobacco is of high quality, some part of tobacco is alsoorganically cultivated, is pesticide residue free and that India is the only country in the world where tobacco is produced in two seasons. She also mentioned that India due to its proximity could bring down the logistic costs in exporting tobacco to China. India is the third largest producer and exporter of unmanufactured tobacco with exports more than Rs.5000 crores to more than 115 destinations including the quality conscious markets such as Japan and Europe. Thus, she reiterated, that India is well positioned to supply superior tobacco with consistency in price, volume, quality, and compliance. However, our exports to China has been negligible. Recently, in the month of January 2019, during the visit of Commerce Secretary Dr. Anup Wadhawan, the otherwise dormant protocol on the export of Indian tobacco leaves to China was extended for next four years removing a major technical barrier in exporting to China. Since then, the Embassy of India in Beijing worked intensively with the Chinese authorities such as State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, Ministry of Commerce and other relevant organisations for promoting Indian tobacco.
Mr. Zhang Jianmin welcomed the delegation and appreciated efforts to promote Indian tobacco. While Indian tobacco may not be currently suitable for the Chinese market, he mentioned that in the background of growing bilateral relations between India and China, STMA will be happy to work with the Indian Tobacco Board to further leverage complementarities. The Tobacco Board offered that with the production processes matching global standards, India will be able to produce and offer tobacco varieties which suit China. The Chief Commissioner promised that he will depute a delegation to India to further explore the opportunities.
Mr Prashant Lokhande, Commercial Counsellor, while giving the background of growing commercial and economic relations with the trade moving to $100 billion mark, emphasised on the need to address the trade deficit. He informed about the progress made post-Wuhan Summit and hoped that with the support of STMA and in the background of strengths of Indian tobacco on quality and price, it will find its place in the Chinese market.
Ambassador Mr.VikramMisri guided the delegation and briefed them about the need for engaging extensively in this market, to sustain the momentum and continue delegation visits at regular intervals.
Earlier the delegation also visited YuxiYanhe county in Yunnan province and Tongxiang in Zhejiang province and interacted with the local tobacco production units and trading agencies.