Sri Lanka stops pepper exports to India under free trade deal

Jan 14, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has stopped exporting pepper under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) because of restrictions imposed by India, a top exporter has said. Gulam Chatoor, former chairman of the Spices and Allied Products Producers and Traders Association said India’s imposition of a cap of 2,500 tonnes a year on pepper exports went against the aim of free trade.

“No exports have been made during the current year under the FTA although fair quantities of pepper have been exported from Sri Lanka to India to the export oriented units and to the extraction industry, Chatoor said.

He told LBO that the trade has asked India to allow pepper exports without restrictions or put it on the negative list.

Products on the negative list in the FTA do not get tariff concessions.

Sri Lanka’s Spices and Allied Products Producers and Traders Association has decided not to export any pepper to India under the FTA as it felt the restrictions imposed by India went against the “spirit” of the agreement, Chatoor said.

Chatoor said that other Sri Lankan spices enter India without import duty and this has boosted exports of spices to the sub-contine