Oil Brokering

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 06 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has approved new terms to limit exports of vanaspathi vegetable oil to India, with the government hopeful that local factories will re-open in a month. The two countries clocked up just under two billion dollars in bilateral trade last year a four fold increase since the free trade deal started six years ago.

The two sides reached a compromise of 250,000 MT of vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings a year, with exports of pepper also capped at 2500 MT annually, R M K Ratnayake, secretary to Sri Lanka’s commerce ministry, told LBO on Thursday.

Sri Lanka exports about 7,000 metric tonnes of pepper and light berries the immature berries of the pepper plant – a year to India, of which black pepper makes up about 3,500 metric tonnes, the Export Development Board says.

Sri Lanka™s Cabinet of ministers approved the deal, but subject to certain implementation issues being worked out.

The new quota is to be distributed to about 12 local companies based on criteria like investment size and employment generated, among others, Ratnayake said.

Sri Lanka will also set up a Vanaspati Quota Board to distribute the n