Turmoil cost lucrative Thai trade pact – ex minister

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 February 2004, 09:57 GMT]
Thailand cancelled a lucrative bilateral trade agreement with Sri Lanka, which was scheduled to be signed last Monday, after President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament. Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe cancelled his official visit to Thailand for the signing of the agreement when President Kumaratunga sacked the Parliament at midnight last Saturday. Ex Minister of Plantation Industries, Mr. Lakshman Kiriella who was sacked by President Kumaratunga on Wednesday said Sri Lanka would lose 160 million rupees a year without the trade agreement with Thailand.

He said that under the bilateral trade pact Thailand had agreed to slash tariff on bulk tea imported by Sri Lanka from thirty percent to five.

Sri Lanka imports tea from Thailand in bulk for blending and reshipment.

Thailand would have purchased 125 metric tons of tea varieties required in that country under the favourable terms of the agreement, the ex minister said.


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