Oct 26, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka™s trade ministry has shot down efforts by local businessmen to get desiccated coconut off India™s protected list, to avoid a political battle with the island™s largest trading partner. Desiccated coconut is on a preferential trading list which gives Sri Lankan exports to India a preferential duty of 57 percent on the Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) rate.

The local desiccated coconut (DC) industry said Thursday that they were lobbying to get the product on a duty free or positive list under an Indo-Lanka trade deal, to encourage local exports to India.

Sri Lanka™s trade and commerce ministry, already doing battle with India on controversial vanaspati vegetable oil and pepper exports, has shot the efforts down.

“We are not even trying for it and are not negotiating for it because we do not want another political battle with India for just about 500 metric tonnes of exports a year,” R M K Ratnayake, secretary to Sri Lanka™s commerce ministry told LBO.

“India also produces coconut and desiccated coconut in Kerala and the farmers there would never allow it.”

Sri Lanka has already come under flak for flooding India™s markets with palm based vegetable oil vana

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