China has lowered import tariffs on South Africa’s rooibos tea by as much as 80%.
Duties on the herbal tea that’s unique to South Africa were lowered to 6% from a range of 15% to 30%, the country’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition said in a statement on Tuesday.
Rooibos is farmed mainly in an area between 200km and 300km north of Cape Town and is thought to have health and beauty benefits.
The industry produces approximately 20,000 tons every year and provides employment to 5,000 people, according to the South African Rooibos Council.
China is the seventh-largest recipient market of the 45 countries to which South Africa exports rooibos, the department said.
In 2014, the EU granted rooibos tea geographical indication status, which gave manufacturers in South Africa’s Cederberg region full ownership of the name.