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China agrees to slash ‘exorbitant’ import tariffs on SA’s unique rooibos

Some good news for the rooibos industry – China has agreed to slash its tariffs on imports of the uniquely South African product by more than half.

Previous tariffs ranging from 15% to 30% which will now be reduced to 6%, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) said in a statement.

Rooibos is still a small industry globally, and virtually all other countries have NO tariff on the product.

In conversation with Bruce Whitfield, the board chair of the South African Rooibos Council (SARC), Martin Bergh, says the current tariff is in fact 30%. which he calls “absolutely exorbitant and extortionist”.

While happy about the move, he notes there are other challenges holding up increased exports to China. While SA’s been supplying the country for a long time, the numbers show it makes up just 3-4% of total rooibos exports.

Right now Japan is the biggest importer of rooibos, accounting for around 35% of exports from South Africa. It is followed by Germany, which accounts for less than half that amount.

To hear more, listen Bruce Whitfield interview Martin Bergh below…