ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 34
Financial Times  

Jacobi seeks US, Swedish help

The drama surrounding the activated carbon industry is taking a new turn with Jacobi Carbons Lanka Ltd, the Swedish foreign company planning to seek the intervention of the Swedish and US ambassadors, The Sunday Times FT reliably understands.

Jacobi is gearing up to seek international arbitration. In an interview with The Sunday Time FT in mid 2006, Anders Skeini, owner of Jacobi Carbons said, "The government can't make laws after investment has been approved or the case will end up in arbitration in Washington on the grounds of discrimination."

A meeting of all stakeholders involved in the activated carbon industry is being held on January 23 by the CDA with the US and Swedish ambassadors being invited to that meeting. CDA Director General N. Mithraratne confirmed the first meeting but said the ambassadors have been invited for a separate briefing. He declined to say what the second meeting was all about. The initial Supreme Court case filed by Prime Carbons Lanka Ltd, a local activated carbon manufacturer, against Jacobi for using scarce raw material concluded at the end of 2006 where the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle refused to give his concurrence to the regulations gazetted by the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) which would control the import and export of raw materials. The local industry has been consistently saying that the scarcity of local raw materials has proved to be a grave obstacle.

Subsequently Haycarb Ltd, a major world producer, filed action in December 2006 on the same issue after which the Supreme Court issued an interim order restricting Jacobi from purchasing 450 tonnes of charcoal a year.

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