Pak emergency dampens India's tea-selling mission

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Guwahati, Nov 24 (UNI) The present political turmoil in Pakistan has hit India's plans of increasing its market share in the large tea consumer market in the neighbouring country.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said here today, ''The present situation in Pakistan, when the country is being run by an interim government and is heading for polls, may compel it not to focus on tea trade with India.'' He was speaking to reporters after attending the closing ceremony of the India International Tea Convention, 2007.

Replying to a poser, Mr Nath said, ''Considering the present state of affairs in Pakistan, tea would probably figure last in their list of priorities.'' He, however, added that his Ministry would pursue increasing India's tea exports to the neighbouring country after a new government came to power and the tension got resolved.

The Union Minister said tea had figured prominently in his every discussion with Pakistan ministers and officials in the past several meetings on enhancing economic ties between the two nations.

''I had urged the Pakistan leadership that tea is an area not only for trade but all-round collaboration,'' Mr Nath said.

The approach is changing and India hopes to have greater presence in the Pakistan tea market,'' he added.

Pakistan is the second largest tea-buyer in the world. Tea export to the neighbouring country was expected to go up from the present 10-12 million kg to about 30 million kg in the next five years.

UNI

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