affects pepper exports
By Iromi Perera
Pepper exports to India have fallen in recent years
due to drought and other production factors. In 2002 Sri Lanka exported
5905 tonnes of pepper to India but in 2003 the amount declined to
5838 tonnes, despite zero tariff being introduced on spices on March
18, 2003. This year too pepper production has declined owing to
the drought and bad weather conditions prevailing and therefore,
only 1800 tonnes have been exported to India from January to June.
exporters also dismissed fears expressed by Indian producers that
cheap imports of Sri Lankan pepper was affecting their market. Several
associations including the All India Spice Exporters' Forum and
the India Pepper and Spice Trade Association have demanded the government
of India fix a cap or impose duty on pepper imports from Sri Lanka.
These associations claim that cheap varieties of pepper were flowing
into the Indian markets from Sri Lanka.
Chatoor, immediate past president of the Spices and Allied Products
Producers' and Traders Association (SAPTTA) dismissed these claims
as false and said that the reason Sri Lankan pepper is cheap in
India is because zero tariff is imposed on spices under the Indo-Sri
Lanka Free Trade Agreement. He also said that Indian traders need
not fear that Sri Lankan pepper exports were a threat to the domestic
market. The quantity of Sri Lankan pepper that is exported into
the Indian market is around three per cent of average annual Indian
to Chatoor, SAPPTA, together with Customs, have worked out strict
measures in order to prevent pepper not originating from Sri Lanka,
to be exported to India. A Sri Lankan certificate of origin is needed
to be able to export and so far, there have been no complaints from
Indian government officials about pepper originating from other
countries, arriving in India from Sri Lanka. He added that after
the introduction of the tariff in 2003, there has been no surge
in Sri Lankan pepper imports into India, which clearly indicates
that pepper is not re-exported from Sri Lanka into India.
Lanka exported 5838 tonnes of pepper in 2003, out of which, 3000
tonnes of it was used for the oleoresin industry. Sri Lanka has
traditionally exported around 2000-2500 tonnes of pepper for the
oleoresin industry in. The pungency in the Sri Lankan pepper makes
it ideal for India's booming oleoresin industry.