Thursday, 29 April 2021 10:54

Sri Lanka halts processed palm oil export to India under FTA Featured

Palm oil importers and producers cultivators suffered a major blow as Sri Lanka banned imports of the world’s most-consumed cooking oil and ordered to get rid of all the tropical trees in the country in phased manner.

It was ironic, that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was instrumental in supporting the oil palm cultivation and promoted the industry when he held the presidency had to issue gazette notifications to ban palm oil imports and uproot oil palm trees within ten years on the directions of his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

However the relevant gazette notification has eased restrictions on imports by allowing the importation of palm oil and its fractions which are not chemically modified subject to special license regulations..

The lack of clarity in the new regulations and the delay in implementing the license scheme allowing importers continue palm oil imports has affected refiners, processors, manufacturers, marketers and sellers of palm oil and other products of the oil palm.

The baseless vilification of the local palm oil industry had resulted in the country to halt producing 250,000 vanaspathi oil per annum, , industry stake holders said.

Earlier these companies are allowed to import palm oil without any restrictions; sources said adding that the companies engaged in producing palm oil based products, bakery fat and vanaspathi ghee for the Indian market are allowed to import crude palm oil without any restrictions.

But it has come to a standstill now and some of those companies are struggling to clear their palm oil shipments and containers held up at the Colombo port since April 7..

The two countries had signed a free-trade agreement under which India’s import of edible oil from Sri Lanka began in 2005.


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