Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) Taiwan's tea exports to China grew noticeably this year compared with last year, mainly because of a trade agreement that was signed between the two sides in 2010, the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) said Wednesday.
In the period January to November this year, Taiwan shipped 596 metric tons of tea to China, with a total value of US$8.15 million (NT$247 million), which represented an annual increase of 11 percentin quantity and 52 percent in value, respectively, said Su Mao-shiang,secretary-general of the AFA at a tea promotion event in Nantou County.
Taiwan's tea exports to China are expected to increase further next year, as China will lift all tariffs on the product in 2012 under the terms of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with Taiwan, Su said.
Currently, there is a 5 percent tariff on Taiwan tea imports to China.
Taiwan tea producers have also benefitted from a government program that offers advice in areas such as packaging, which has helped to increase domestic and international sales, the AFA said.
For example, farmers associations in parts of Chiayi and Nantou counties that participated in the program have become more creative, incorporating geographical and cultural characteristics into their packaging, the AFA said.
The Meishan Township farmers association in Chiayi, for instance, has included images of Alishan on its packaging, the agency said.
To monitor the quality of Taiwan tea, up to 13 special tea zones have been established by the AFA throughout Taiwan. A total of 174 tea manufacturers in certain townships have received AFA verification of their products.
Among the products that have been verified are brands such as Taiwan's Lugu Township's Dong Ding Oolong Tea, Alishan High Mountain Oolong, Wen Shang Baozhong Tea, Ruisui Township Tianhe Tea, Beipu Township Pengfeng Tea, Sun Moon Lake Black Tea, and Hehuan Mountain Tea.
(By Lin Heng-li and C.J. Lin)/