Sri Lanka signed a preferential trade pact with Iran last week but is unlikely to see its main export tea get any duty cuts into Iran. A framework agreement for a preferential trade pact was signed last week between Sri Lanka and Iran but the enforcement date and the items that get concessionary access are still to be finalised.
At the moment tea is the main export from Sri Lanka into Iran, getting in with a duty of 40 percent, but duty cuts on tea, says the Tea Board is not likely.
"We requested for the duties on tea to be halved at previous discussions, but Iran was unwilling to do so," said Chairman of the Tea Board Niraj de Mel.
This is mainly because Iran is trying to promote her own homegrown tea at home.
In fact until May this year tea could only be exported to Iran under a safeguard mechanism where the imported tea had to be blended with domestic Iranian tea.
When the restrictions came off this year official tea exports to Iran shot up to 11,000 MT up by end August