ISLAMABAD: Sri Lankan has massively slashed cess(domestic tax) on imported Kinnows on the request of Pakistan embassy.

Pakistan has been a leading and steady supplier of quality mandarins to the Sri Lankan market in recent years. Last month, Sri Lanka had imposed a sudden increase in Cess on imported Mandarins from LKR. 30/kg to LKR. 160/kg, which made Kinnows exports from Pakistan almost four times costlier in the Sri Lankan market than before.

According to the Commerce Ministry, although the tax was imposed on all imported Kinnows/Mandarins, the move particularly affected Pakistan as Kinnow is a concessional item under the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA).

Moreover, the Citrus season in the country had just commenced and this development had placed export orders in immediate jeopardy.

The Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Association (PFVA), exporters and Sri Lankan importers had also expressed their concerns in this regard and requested for intervention with the Sri Lankan Government.

The Ministry of Commerce through its Trade & Investment Attaché, Ms Asma Kamal at Colombo, immediately took up the matter with the concerned authorities in Sri Lanka, in order to expedite an amicable resolution of the matter.

Recently, the matter of illegal registration of brand name “Kernal” was also resolved via the Ministry of Commerce’s Trade & Investment Officer in the respective country.

Commerce Ministry was of the view that reversal of duty would support Pakistani Kinnow/mandarin exporters in the challenging circumstances in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.