Tea pluckers in Sri Lanka Tea pluckers in Sri Lanka
Dec 18, 2017

Maithri to ask Putin to lift tea import ban Featured

President Maithripala Sirisena says he will ask his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to lift the ban on Sri Lankan tea imports.

Ministers Navin Dissanayake and Risath Bathiudeen were due to leave for Moscow last night (17), carrying the request.

Addressing a public rally in Haputale earlier in the day, president Sirisena said he hoped Russia would support Sri Lanka as a friendly nation, and asked tea industrialists to have no undue fears over the matter.

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Sri Lanka tea

Russia suspended tea imports from Sri Lanka, effective from today, saying it had detected an agricultural pest, khapra beetle, from a consignment of tea shipped from the island.

However, quoting political analysts, ‘Sunday Times’ said the ban was likely a retaliatory measure after Sri Lanka decided to completely halt import asbestos sheets from 2024, citing its harmful effects on health.

Russia is a key importer of Sri Lanka tea and a leading seller of asbestos sheets to Sri Lanka.

The newspaper also said the delay in the cabinet-approved purchase of a warship from Russia could be another reason for the imposition of the ban.

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The kapra beetle could’ve entered at foreign port – Navin Dissanayake

Minister Susil Premajayanth is due to be in Russia next week to discuss the asbestos sheet issue.

Navin Dissanayake, the subject minister, has told the media in Nuwara Eliya that the kapra beetle could have entered the tea consignment at a port in another country.