Testing delay hinders Basmati rice imports from Pakistan
- Full Quota under FTA not realized
- Shipping containers often face months-long delays, exacerbating the strain on the trade relationship between the two countries
By Kelum Bandara
Delays in local testing by Sri Lankan authorities hinder the utilization of the total quota of Bamsati rice imports from Pakistan allocated under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, Daily Mirror learns. Daily Mirror learns that the Pakistani authorities express dissatisfaction with the delay caused by Sri Lankan testing procedures, arguing that the rice is already accompanied by certifications from three different bodies, including the certificate of origin.
This has led to a perception gap, with Sri Lankan authorities insisting on their testing protocols, while their Pakistani counterparts view it as redundant.
According to the terms of the FTA, Sri Lanka is allowed to import 6000 tonnes of Basmati rice.
However, the actual import figures paint a different picture, with only around 300 tonnes making their way into the country over the past several years due to clearance delays.
Insiders familiar with the process disclose that shipping containers often face months-long delays, exacerbating the strain on the trade relationship between the two countries. When contacted by Daily Mirror, Trade Minister Nalin Fernando admitted the existence of such a problem. He said there is delay on the part of the Batalagoda Rice Research and Development Centre (BRRDC).
The Minister added that action would be taken to leave out the (BRRDC) from the process and clear imported stocks subject to approval by the Sri Lankan health authorities.
The Pakistani High Commissions in Colombo could not be reached for any comment in this regard.
Published Date: January 4, 2024