Indian delegation in Prague to revive tobacco exports

Indian tobacco business is on a global sales pitch. Recently a trade delegation went to China in an attempt to revive a lost market. Now, a huge delegation from Indian tobacco industry is in Prague, Czech Republic in a bid to improve exports to European Union that declined last year.

Indian tobacco to 20 EU countries dipped to Rs 1,375 crore in 2010-11 from Rs 1,640 crore a year ago. The EU accounted for 42 per cent of Indian tobacco exports. Exports, however, declined 4 per cent in terms of volume and 6 per cent in terms of volume year on year.

Indian Tobacco factory

A delegation from Indian tobacco industry

India sees huge scope in the EU market that imported 70 crore kg a year despite anti-tobacco and anti-smoking campaigns. Strong manufacturing base for cigarettes and other tobacco products is expected to make this region an attractive destination for Indian tobacco exporters.

Several Indian businesses houses, including ITC, Godfrey Phillips and other players, will either set up stalls or interact with their peers from across the world who will attend Tabexpo-2011. This is a rendezvous for the global tobacco industry held every four years. The four-day expo will begin on November 15.

“We have seen a dip in exports last year. We are here to revive it again. We will hold discussions with Director-General of Ministry of Commerce of Czech Republic,” Mr G Kamalavardhan Rao, Chairman of Indian Tobacco Board, told Business Line over phone from Prague.

“During the four days of conference, we have lined up meetings with government and trade representatives of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands to discuss increasing exports to those countries,” he said.

Exports to Belgium fell to Rs 315 crore (Rs 394 crore) in 2010-11. The Netherlands too picked less at Rs 200 crore (Rs 245 crore) and Switzerland Rs 12 crore (Rs 48 crore). Germany’s appetite for Indian tobacco, however, grew to Rs 235 crore (Rs 188 crore).

The first six months (April-September, 2011) maintained the regular trend in exports with EU contributing 41 per cent. India too imported tobacco from Europe but that is a very small quantity of 55 tonnes last year.

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