Sri Lanka seafood exporters eye China market under FTA
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan exporters have asked the government to take up an import tariff charged by China on seafood when negotiating a free trade agreement as they seek to diversify markets, an official said.
Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka chairman Prabhash Subasinghe said they were seeking government support to ramp up production and access new markets with a ban by the European Union hurting the sector.
Subasinghe, who is also Managing Director of Global Sea Foods, said seafood exports are suffering because of the ban and an “unfriendly” import and export policy environment.
“The 9% tariff charged by China on our seafood exports is a problem and this needs to be discussed at the FTA formulation,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
Another issue was that exporters also have to pay a licence fee of 50 dollars per tonne of seafood they export, he said.
The seafood trade was suffering from inadequate production volumes to meet export demands, Subasinghe said.
The EU imposed the ban in October 2014, saying Sri Lanka was not complying with international rules on illegal fishing and that its control systems were inadequate.
The government is to send a team of officials to Brussels on 30 March for talks on getting the ban lifted.
Sri Lanka exported 252.7 million dollars of sea food in 2014 but exports declined by 35 percent to 163.1 million dollars in 2015.
(COLOMBO, March 18, 2016)