Blocked Sri Lanka tea pouring in to Iraq: trade ministry

Mar 05, 2013 (LBO) – Shipments of Sri Lanka tea detained at the Iraqi border have been allowed into the country from March 04, two weeks after a meeting between ministers of the two countries, the commerce ministry said. The trade ministry said Sri Lanka’s Anverally & Sons (Pvt) Ltd, Georgre Stuart Teas (Pvt) Ltd, Shan Teas Ltd, Setmil Teas Ltd, Finlays Colombo, Uniworld Teas, Union Commodities Exports, and Setmil Teas Pvt Ltd exported to Iraq.

Sri Lanka’s commerce ministry said more than 100 containers of tea had been detained at the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, Aqaba Free Trade Zone of Jordan and Umm Qasr port of Iraq from February 19 due to a change in testing parameters.

Sri Lanka’s commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Iraq’s minister of trade Kheer- allah Hassan babaker Muhammad had met two days later with officials from Sri Lanka’s commerce department and tea board.

The commerce ministry said the first set of detained containers had been released on March 04, and more is expected to be released.

Iraq had bought 83 million Us dollars of tea from Sri Lanka becoming the fifth largest buyer after Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey. In 2012, 60 percent of tea imports to Iraq were from Sri Lanka and 91 percent