President to request Putin to lift restrictions on tea

President Maithripala Sirisena says he will make an official request from Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the restrictions imposed on Sri Lanka tea imports.

A special delegation led by Ministers Navin Dissanayake and Rishad Bathiudeen will leave the country for Russia, to explain the situation and find a remedy, President Sirisena said.

The President also said that he will make a special request to Russian President Vladimir Putin in this regard, and said that no one in the tea industry should be unnecessarily worried by this move as he believes Russia as a friendly nation to Sri Lanka and was confident that its assistance will be given in this regard.

The Russian agricultural safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announced last week that Russia will place temporary restrictions on imports of all agricultural products from Sri Lanka, including tea, from December 18.

The watchdog said it had taken the decision to impose restrictions after it found an insect, known as the Khapra beetle, in the packaging of one consignment of tea from Sri Lanka.

Tea from Sri Lanka accounts for 23 percent of Russia’s tea market, with other supplies come from India, Kenya, China and Vietnam, Ramaz Chanturiya, the head of the Rusteacoffee association, was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

Members of Rusteacoffee, an association of Russian tea producers, will ask Rosselkhoznadzor to resume tea imports from Sri Lanka but with tougher controls, the Reuters news agency had reported.

Russia imported 141,300 tonnes of tea worth $436 million in the first 10 months of 2017, according to customs data. (Colombo Gazette)


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