Korea eyes exports of signature green tea

Korea eyes exports of signature green tea

South Korea is pushing to export its most famous organic green tea brand to tap fast growing markets in the United States and other countries, officials said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it signed a contract with Handong County on the south coast and tea exporter Vision Korea Corp. on exports of “Hadong organic green tea.”

Under the contract, the county, which accounts for half the country’s organic green tea output, will create a 482-hectare cultivation area for organic green tea and help growers expand processing and sterilization facilities.

Using its export network, Vision Korea will push to ship 100 tons of Handong green tea to North America, Germany and other countries this year, which is almost equivalent to South Korea’s current green tea exports per annum.

“More exports will help South Korean green tea products boost their shares in overseas markets dominated by Chinese and Japanese brands,” a ministry official said. “Growers will earn more income, which will in turn contribute to revitalizing the regional economy.”

The deal comes amid surging demand for green tea in America, Germany and other countries, with South Korean brands increasingly gaining recognition overseas.

The American market for green tea, which reached $10 billion in 2014, is projected to shoot up about 30 percent in 2017 from the previous year, with demand in Germany continuing to grow, according to the ministry.

US food giants have been making forays into the tea market.

In 2012, Starbucks Coffee Co. acquired the tea retailer Teavana, and American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s has begun selling tea and iced tea at its stores.

The ministry said Korean high-end organic green teas with excellent quality have been gaining recognition overseas as they are cheaper than those produced in China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Japan.


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