Import and re-export of pepper banned

Published : 12:02 am  February 12, 2019 | No comments so far |  | 

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Says it continues as those involved are among the high and mighty

  • Pepper exported to India free of tax
  • Sometimes skips Sri Lanka

Untitled-2By Sandun A Jayasekera

Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage said yesterday he had stopped import and re- export of pepper but it was extremely difficult to stop the re-export of pepper to India because it was being carried out by some politicians, Customs officials and businessmen.  

“Pepper is imported from Vietnam, the world’s biggest pepper producer and those involved in re-exporting it are so powerful that pepper is re-exported as a product of Sri Lankan often bypassing the country,” he said.   
The minister told a media conference that the law enforcement authorities, the finance and industry ministries and the Sri Lanka Customs must check how pepper shipped from Vietnam reached India as a product of Sri Lanka without even a rupee being paid as tax. He admitted though, that pepper could be exported to India with zero tax under the Indo-Sri Lanka Trade Agreement.   


Responding to a Daily Mirror journalist, the minister said he could not stop the re-export of pepper but what he could do was to stop import and re-export of pepper. He said by the time he stopped the import of pepper, 156 containers of pepper containers had been brought to the Colombo Port for value addition and re-export.   


The minister said the pepper re-export racket was similar to narcotics trafficking where the government was carrying on an uphill task to eradicate narcotics.   


He said he had officially informed the Indian government, the Indian High Commission, Sri Lanka High Commission in India and all other relevant state bodies about the pepper racket but it still continued because those involved were among the high and mighty. 

 

  • It is imported from Vietnam, the world’s biggest pepper producer
  • The pepper re-export racket was similar to narcotics trafficking

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