ISLAMABAD — Pakistani exporters on Monday urged the Sri Lankan government to withdraw its decision of levying new tax on the import of agricultural products as it would affect Pakistani exports to the country.
“With the imposition of the new ‘Special Commodity Tax’ by Sri Lanka, the duties on many export items from Pakistan have been doubled,” Chief Executive Officer of Harvest Trading Ahmad Jawad said.
He said Sri Lanka was the major importer of onion, potato and kinnow from Pakistan and the decision of levying new tax would affect the overall exports. “This is the kinnow season ‑ so the decision would affect the export of this citrus fruit,” Ahmed Jawad said and urged the Sri Lankan government not to enhance duties on agricultural products from Pakistan. Duty on kinnow has been increased from US$2.19 per 13 kilograms to US$4.47 and onion from 9 cents to 22 cents per kilogram and potato from 4.5 cents to 30 cents per kilogram, he added.
He was of the view that kinnow export to Sri Lanka would be reduced by 60 per cent because of the new tax which was likely to affect 13,000 to 15,000 tonnes of kinnow export to Colombo this year. On the other hand, Mr. Jawad added that Pakistan had exported almost 35,000 tonnes of potatoes last year.
He said despite the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the export of commodities like fruits and vegetables from Pakistan to Sri Lanka would be affected.“The recently imposed tax has started affecting the export of agricultural products to Sri Lanka which may reduce the overall export of the country,” Jawad said. A Special Commodity Tax has been imposed by Sri Lanka on imported cultural products such as green gram, black gram, and others to protect its domestic farmers for three months. It may be recalled that there was no additional duty on imports of pan, chalia, coconut powder, pineapple, and others from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. (Source: Pakistan Observer)