Sri Lanka clamps down on duty free import of white goods

July 19, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will ban the duty-free import of a range of white goods now allowed to be brought into the country by returning citizens that worked abroad, a senior revenue official said. Sri Lanka Customs would not allow any type of air conditioners, deep freezers or dishwashers and fully automatic washing machines to be brought duty free as ‘passenger baggage allowance’ from August 01, 2008, customs chief Sarath Jayatillake said.

A Customs circular issued this month said refrigerators with two or more doors with a capacity of 500 litres, four burner cookers with ovens, televisions with a screen bigger than 29 inches (or 32 inches if it has a liquid crystal display) would also not get duty free allowances.

Sri Lanka’s government gives a ‘baggage allowance’ to citizens who work abroad and send foreign exchange home to bring in electronic and others goods valued at around 500 US dollars, when they return home, depending on the time worked abroad.

The ‘allowances’ of largely low income blue collar workers in the Middle East, are systematically appropriated by an organized network of dealers who use the allowances to bring in goods for commercial purposes.

The government