Battle Lines

June 05 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will fight new Indian restrictions on duty free vanaspati exports, ahead of another round of Indo-Lanka trade talks at the end of June.

Duty free exports of Vanaspati a hydrogenated vegetable oil, has been a sore point in Indo-Sri Lanka trade relations, with Sri Lanka accused of flooding Indian markets at cheap prices.

Sri Lanka capped exports at 250,000 metric tonnes and restricted the quota to ten Board of Investment approved factories, despite a free trade agreement in force.

India has restricted exports further, allowing only state run National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation to import duty free from Sri Lanka, Indian news agencies reported on Sunday.

This new control was imposed over the weekend and we are still studying the modalities, Nimal Karunatilake, Deputy Director of Commerce, told LBO on Monday.

It could be that based on domestic requirements they may come up with a new quota and private sector companies will have to import only through the state agency.

Sri Lanka will be making representations to its High Commission in New Delhi, Karunatilake said, with the i