New procedures introduced on pepper export, Lanka tells India
Following the requests by the Consortium of Pepper Growers’ Organisation to control black pepper import, the Union Ministry of Commerce has asked the Sri Lankan government to exercise extreme care and diligence in issuing certificates of origin for pepper under the trade agreements.
Quoting a letter dated January 31 to the consortium by the Plantation Division of the Department of Commerce under the Union Ministry of Commerce, Konkodi Padmanabha, convener of the consortium, said that the Commerce Ministry had requested the Sri Lankan authorities in this regard.
He said the Sri Lankan government has informed India that the Sri Lanka Customs, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Primary Industries and the Lankan National Quarantine Service have introduced a new procedure with the aim of preventing Sri Lankan exporters from obtaining certificates of origin under SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) agreement or ISLFTA (India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement) for third country black pepper shipments destined to India.
The letter also said that the Central Board of Excise and Customs has been requested to issue suitable instructions to field formations for strict verification of certificates of origin relating to import of pepper into India under the ISLFTA and SAFTA to ensure that no unauthorised import takes place through Sri Lanka.
He said that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been requested to strengthen the quality checking of import consignment of pepper to examine the issue of the possibility of Vietnamese pepper imported into India being contaminated with high dose of pesticide.