Govt pledges to protect Pure Ceylon Tea
Speaking to over 200 foreign delegates at the biennial Dilmah Tea
global distributor conference in Colombo, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B.
Jayasundera outlined the way forward for the Sri Lankan tea industry.
Emphatically rebutting arguments made by the Tea Industry Association
(TEA) that the Government should allow the importation of cheap
low-quality teas for blending with Sri Lankan tea, Dr. Jayasundera
exclaimed that "Sri Lanka should not permit our product to be used in
Dr. Jayasundera explained the Government's position, "One product we
should uncompromisingly preserve and protect is Sri Lankan tea. Dilmah
has shown that all facets can be developed locally. We believe Sri Lanka
has a tremendous comparative advantage in tea and can make it a three
billion dollar industry in the next 10 years."
Echoing these sentiments, key stakeholders of the tea industry, which
directly supports over 2.5 million Sri Lankans, warned against the TEA's
attempts to destroy the world-renowned 'Pure Ceylon Tea' brand by
lobbying for the adulteration of this premium beverage.
The TEA, which is behind the effort to import cheap low-quality teas
for blending and re-exporting from Sri Lanka, comprises tea exporters
and does not represent thousands of growers and workers who help sustain
one of the country's most important industries.
For the past few years, the TEA has attempted to argue that the
relatively high cost of Ceylon tea prevents local players from competing
with international brands.
The success of Dilmah, a truly global 'Pure Ceylon Tea' brand, and
other Sri Lankan-owned brands, stands in stark contrast to this
claim.Refuting the TEA's attempt to draw a comparison between the tea
and apparel industry, which allows the duty-free import of raw material,
Dr. Jayasundera made it clear that the two industries are markedly
different, noting that "tea is the opposite [of the apparel industry].
Everything is here".