A detained consignment of more than 100 Ceylon tea containers valued at US $ 13 million has started arriving to the Iraqi market following bilateral trade actions by Iraqi and Sri Lankan governments.
A press statement by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce noted that since February 19, more than 100 tea containers from Sri Lanka heading for Iraq were detained in the locations of Iraq-Kuwaiti border, Aqaba Free Trade Zone of Jordan and Umm Qasr port of Iraq.
At least another 50 Ceylon Tea containers were in mid sea on its way to Iraq while another 50 containers, packed and ready for shipment, awaited in Colombo destined for Iraq.
Hearing this, Sri Lanka’s Industry and Commerce Minster Rishad Bathiudeen with a high powered delegation has visited a Baghdad and held bilateral trade talks with Iraqi authorities and were able to sort out the matter amicably.
“As a result of Minister Bathiudeen’s representations, t he Ministry of Industry and Commerce is now pleased to announce that the first set of detained tea containers were released and started arriving in Baghdad warehouses from 04 March” the statement said.
Iraq had bought 83 million US dollars of tea from Sri Lanka becoming the fifth largest buyer after Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey. In 2012, 60 percent of tea imports to Iraq were from Sri Lanka and 91 percent in 2011, the commerce ministry said.
The trade ministry said Sri Lanka’s Anverally & Sons (Pvt) Ltd, Georgre Stuart Teas (Pvt) Ltd, Shan Teas Ltd, Setmil Teas Ltd, Finlays Colombo, Uniworld Teas, Union Commodities Exports, and Setmil Teas Pvt Ltd exported to Iraq.