China overtakes Belgium as top importer of Zimbabwe’s tobacco

China overtakes Belgium as top importer of Zimbabwe’s tobacco

By Kuda Chideme, HARARE June 16 (The Source) – China has become the top importer of Zimbabwe’s flue cured tobacco this year, overtaking Belgium after the European country increased excise duty on tobacco in its 2015 budget.

Last year, Belgium was the top buyer of Zimbabwe’s golden leaf at 18.4 million kg, which earned the southern African country $92,5 million.

The European country, however, increased excise duty on tobacco as of 2015. At the same time, it reduced price-based duty but increased quantity-based levies.

A report by Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry regulator TIMB shows that comparatively, exports to Belgium have fallen to 805,620 kg in the first 70 days of the tobacco selling season from 3.7 million last year.

During the same period, China has imported 19.8 million kg amounting to $169 million compared to 2.2 million kg worth $14,6 million in 2014.

Exports to South Africa have risen to 5.2 million kg worth $14,6 million from 2.4 million kg for $10,6 million in 2014.

Russia has bought 1.9 million kg at 3.32 per kg, earning the country $6,5 million compared to  $4,3 million from1.6 million kg last year.

In 2014, total flue tobacco amounted to 216 million kilograms earning the country $684 million.

This year Zimbabwe projects lower output at around 195 million kg.