- India slaps minimum import price on pepper
- 75% of Lankan pepper exports and 100% of areca nut exports go to India
Sri Lanka’s spice exporters yesterday lashed out at the multiple non-tariff barriers imposed by Indian authorities on pepper, areca nuts and clove stems despite the existence of Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.
The Management Committee of Spice and Allied Products Producers and Traders’ Association (SAPPTA) said in a brief statement that Indian authorities have imposed unrealistic minimum import price (MIP) on Sri Lanka’s pepper exports resulting in negligible exports.
SAPPTA pointed out that despite the MIP of 500 Indian rupees slapped on Sri Lankan pepper, the local price is only 200 Indian rupees.
Before the MIP, Sri Lanka exported around 75 percent of its pepper exports and almost 100 percent of its areca nut exports to India. .
Indian authorities resorted to price controls as Indian pepper producers claimed that cheap pepper imports from Vietnam were flowing into India through Sri Lanka.
However, considering the concerns of the local pepper producers, the Sri Lankan government earlier this year imposed restrictions on pepper imports from Vietnam to curb the re-export racket.
SAPPTA also said Indian importers were also finding it difficult to clear areca nuts cargos from Sri Lanka at the port of entry.
Further, SAPPTA said Indian authorities instructed Sri Lanka’s Phytosanitary Department to halt issuing of certificates for the export of clove stems which is a necessary requirement for the clearing of cargo in India.
“In the meantime, stocks of these commodities remain unsold with farmers who continue to agitate with declining prices. What is the use of free trade agreements, if such restrictions prevent exports?” SAPPTA questioned.