Sri Lanka looks to trade with Iran as sanctions end

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is looking to expand trade with Iran, which was a key source of petroleum imports, after international sanctions were lifted with a trade delegation due in February, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

Bi-lateral trade with Iran fell from 1.6 billion US dollars in 2011 to 188 million dollars last year.

"We are entering  the post sanction era, it is time to upgrade our bilateral relations, including economic (relations)," ) Iranian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mohammed Zaeri Amirani was quoted as saying to Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen in a statement.

A trade delegation will visit Sri Lanka on February 23.

"Iran is looking to supply medicine, medical equipment, agricultural machinery such as tractors, fertilizer, bitumen, and petrochemicals to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Zaeri Amirani said.

"During the February meet we can give a better picture of our requirements but we are keen to import Ceylon Tea, apparels, and coconuts and cashew. I am pleased Sri Lanka would be able to re-commence petroleum imports from Iran from now.”

Sri Lanka’s only refinery owned by state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is geared to refine Iranian light crude and finds is difficult to handle other types.

The refinery face severe problems getting enough yields of light distillates during the sanctions period. (Colombo/Jan20/2016)

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