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India’s New Quality Rules Halt Nepali Tea Exports

April 20, 2024
Nepali Tea Exports
Photo: Jasper Neupane / Getty Images

India’s implementation of new quality testing regulations has brought Nepali tea exports to a standstill, causing a serious crisis for Nepal’s tea industry. On Tuesday, India stopped 17 truckloads of Nepali tea at the Panitanki border checkpoint, preventing them from entering the market.

The new Indian regulations require individual quality testing for each truckload of tea, in contrast to the previous system which accepted a single sample report for up to 15 days. Nepali tea exporters lack the resources to comply with this change, and Indian customs lacks a local testing laboratory.

Roshan Agarwal, a tea businessman and customs representative, expressed concern over the stranded and vulnerable trucks. Ram Prasad Regmi, Head of Mechi Customs Office in Kakarbhitta, confirmed the halt and stated that efforts are underway to resolve the issue.

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Khemraj Prasain, Chairman of the Mechi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes India’s move is aimed at deliberately hindering Nepali tea exports. He warns of a major crisis for the Nepali tea industry if a timely solution isn’t reached.

Nepal exports over 90% of its tea to India, primarily through the Kakarbhitta border. This disruption highlights the need for India to either recognize Nepali quality inspections or facilitate local testing capabilities.

Ditible Staff

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