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  • Writer's pictureHula Consulting


Blog Contributed by Firsd Tea.

China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) and China’s ports in Zhejiang Province have re-opened for tea exports. Colleagues who are dealing directly with both CIQ and the ports feel they are fully staffed and will fulfill export requirements and efficiently get containers onto vessels.

The biggest interruption to the supply and availability of tea will be felt within China, as most tea produced in China is consumed domestically. The first flushes/harvests are reserved for domestic buyers. It is not until further along in the season that tea for the export market is processed.

China Tea Update

Mei Yu, Secretary General of the China Tea Association, said in an interview with the Economic Daily:

  • “Processing facilities have begun to collect early spring compliance with the health and safety guidelines from local governments and industry organizations.”

  • “While the cost of plucking tea will be higher this year; volumes of mid-grade teas are expected to be higher...overall price should generally remain on-balance."

  • "Volumes of high-end teas should be relatively low, so these prices are likely to increase. Current output and price are not the biggest factors: the wait-and-see attitude of the market is creating instability.”

  • “The impact of the coronavirus mainly impacted the market for finished tea before and after the Spring Festival. Colder than average spring weather affected some local production areas, but in terms of the overall early spring tea market across China, it had little impact.”

Will We See Economic Impact?

Bearing safety in mind, the Tea Industry, in general, aims to avoid withdrawing economic support for its tea farmers, particularly those in poverty-stricken areas.

  • Nearly 30% of all poverty-stricken counties in #China rely on tea crops as their main source of income for sustainable, economic development.

  • China is the world’s largest tea importer to the United States with 45% of all green tea, 50% of the Fair Trade tea, and 65% of the US Organic tea importing from China.

Are Tea Imports from China Safe?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated:

  • The virus is not spread through goods but by human to human contact.

  • In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

The Tea Association of the US echoes the CDC position, giving an assessment of infection risk from imported tea products is as follows:

  • Tea Leaf: due to generally long transportation times from origin, the risk is very low

  • Spray Dried Extracts: due to high temperatures employed in the spray drying process the risk is very low

  • Liquid Extracts: Most, if not all, liquid extracts are either pasteurized or UHT treated, reducing the risk to virtually nil

  • The Tea Association's position is that there is no need to be concerned about the risk of coronavirus infection from imported tea products.

The Tea and Herbal Association of Canada takes a similar position: “There is no indication that this strain of the virus can be transmitted through products and packaging.”

Will the Coronavirus Disrupt My U.S. Tea Business?

“Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S., said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC offered this guidance during a briefing with reporters on February 25, 2020.

As a result of these market and industry concerns, tea suppliers have seen a higher than usual number of inquiries. The combination of a lag in the supply of all tea leaving China, the larger incidence of purchase inquiries, and potential transport disruptions in the US, results in the recommendations of advanced planning and communication with your tea suppliers in order to help mitigate against disruptions in tea supply.

The World is watching along with direct supplier Firsd Tea, who remain concerned about the loss of life and continued spread of the coronavirus, both within and beyond China. Firsd Tea have been regularly tracking China’s progress in controlling the spread of the virus and its impact on the tea industry. Business operations across nearly all industries in China were suspended for at least three weeks, and now their tea offices and factories are gradually returning to their full and normal operating schedules.

Per usual, the team at Hula Consulting will continue to stay current with information to best assist with the safety and security of your tea and flavoring needs. Should you have any questions specifit to your business, please do not hesitate to reach out at any time to at 561.600.7025 or Be safe and healthy!

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