Indian teas are fetching 5 per cent higher prices in Iran than they did a year ago, but traders said that complications in adhering to the intra-state e-way bill system rolled out on April 1 for payment of goods and services tax has taken the cheer away. Under the new system, tea merchants are required to issue way bill for every collection of tea and moving it from the seller’s warehouse to their own warehouse which may be located less than 10 km away so long as the value is above Rs 1 lakh.
Wherever there are tea auction centres, traders are facing similar problems,” said tea exporter Anshuman Kanoria, chairman of Calcutta Tea Traders Association (CTTA).
“We are getting better prices for our orthodox teas in Iran. The US sanctions have created some uncertainty in the market but not affected exports till date. The rupeeriyal trade is going on. What is disturbing us is the intra-state GST issue.” Kanoria said the association had already held a round of meeting with West Bengal’s GST authority on the intra-state issue. “We will shortly be writing to the GST Council to sort out the problem,” he said.
There are six tea auction centres — in Kolkata, Guwahati, Siliguri, Cochin, Coonoor and Coimbatore. There are thousands of tea lots sold in tea auctions every week. Each broker issues one tax invoice per category of tea (Darjeeling, orthodox, CTC, dust) to each buyer in his or her catalogue. This tax invoice may comprise, say, 40 lots stored over, say, 10-40 warehouses. The buyer would need to generate one way bill for the tax invoice which would be valid for a day and tea needs to be collected from all warehouses in one day.