Iran seeks more trade with Sri Lanka, offers US$ 10 mn for tsunami relief

Iran gave US$ 10 mn to Sri Lanka for tsunami relief during talks here Thursday on increasing bilateral trade in tea and oil, a government statement said. Iran gave US$ 10 mn to Sri Lanka for tsunami relief during talks here Thursday on increasing bilateral trade in tea and oil, a government statement said. Discussions were held between Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister Moshen Aminzadeh on increasing tea exports to the Persian nation and importing more petroleum products from Iran.

Sri Lanka competes with countries such as Kenya to export black tea to Iran with some 27 grades of the highly aromatic blends earning 683 million dollars in overseas sales last year, up 4.5 percent from the previous year.

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit widened 66 percent in the first eight months of 2004 to 1.46 billion dollars, partly due to a surge in world oil prices, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Aminzadeh gave the 10 million dollars for tsunami relief work in Sri Lanka, a statement from Kumaratunga’s office said.

“The government of Iran would be ready to offer its