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NON-BASMATI VARIETY: SRI LANKA LINKS RICE DUTY CUT TO CERTIFICATION: REAP
12/21/2017

DAILY BUSINESS RECORDER (21/12/2017)

NON-BASMATI VARIETY: SRI LANKA LINKS RICE DUTY CUT TO CERTIFICATION: REAP

KARACHI: On the request of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Sri Lanka has assured that it will reduce duty on Pakistani non-Basmati rice provided exporters get proper certification. 

A high-profile trade delegation of REAP led by Rafique Suleman, Senior Vice Chairman, REAP has returned after successful visit of Sri Lanka. 

During the visit, this delegation had very interactive and fruitful meetings with Riashad Bathiuddin, Sri Lankan Minister of Industry & Commerce and K.D.N. Ranjith Asoka, Secretary for Industry and Commerce Ministry as well as other officials of chambers of commerce. 

Rafique Suleman informed Sri Lankan minister that Pakistani rice crop is around 6.5 million tons, of which more than 3 million tons of non-Basmati rice is being exported annually. Pakistani non-Basmati rice is very popular in Sri Lankan but the Sri Lankan government has imposed a heavy duty of Rs50 per kg on Basmati and long grain rice. 

He added that Pakistan has two types of rice, ie, Basmati rice which is premium quality rice while the other is non-Basmati rice, which is also long grain rice and quite cheaper than Basmati rice. Average unit price of non-Basmati rice is around $325 to $400 per ton. 

Suleman requested the Sri Lankan minister to treat Pakistani non-Basmati long grain rice under the duty of Rs 0.25 per kg which is also imposed on other origin’s rice, so that common people of Sri Lanka may also get benefit of cheap rates. 

Sri Lankan minister listened to the issues patiently and said if Pakistani exporters get a certificate from the government of Pakistan or a leading institution that these non-Basmati rice varieties are duly approved and registered, he will consider reducing the import duty on non-Basmati long grain rice. 

Following this, REAP approached leading government research institutions such as PCSIR, Rice Research Institute Dokri, National Institute of Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, etc, and requested them to issue such certificate for submission to Sri Lankan government, which the latter have provided on very short notice. 

“Further, Suleman said we have also requested Colombo to increase the Tariff Rate Quote (TRQ) for Pakistani Basmati rice under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is 6,000 metric tons for many years. This quantity must be increased up to at least 12,000 tons,” he maintained. 

The Sri Lankan minister has assured us of his all-out cooperation. “We are hopeful that after our efforts and subsequent reduction in import duty on Pakistani non-Basmati rice, trade between the friendly countries will get a significant boost,” he added. 

Another importing meeting of REAP delegation was held with PETTAH Traders Association which is the representatives of Sri Lankan importers. REAP delegation also had very a fruitful B2B meeting with this association. 

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