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China's tea exports down 2.8 pct in 2012

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BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China's tea output reached 1.75 million tonnes last year, with 310,000 tonnes shipped overseas, an industry association official said Thursday.

Tea exports slid 2.8 percent year on year, as demand from the EU and Japan weakened, said Yang Shengjun, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce.

Most of the exports consisted of crude and loose tea, which does not have much added value, Yang said.

He said China will work to nurture major tea producers and boost their ability to innovate.

The value of tea exports last year climbed about 8 percent year on year to a record high of 1.04 billion U.S. dollars, as increased production costs pushed up prices, the official said.

China's tea exports have reached more than 120 countries and regions worldwide, Yang said.

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