Lanka, Iraq bilateral trade up by 80% to $ 90 mn
As bilateral trade topped $90 mn, Iraq and Sri Lanka are aiming to break new grounds when largest joint trade session will commence in Baghdad next week-and OPEC's second biggest oil power is now ready to channel its Basra Light crude to Sri Lankan refineries.
" In the past Sri Lanka bought and refined our oil but has discontinued. You can buy our Basra Light brand of crude streams and we are ready to supply them to you as we are a top buyer of Ceylon Tea," said Iraqi Ambassador in Sri Lanka Kahtan Taha Khalaf yesterday.
Iraq is OPEC's second biggest oil power after Saudi Arabia. According to the Department of Sri Lanka, the value of total trade between the two countries that stood at $ 8.72 mn in 2003 topped $ 89.99 mn in 2013. Sri Lanka exported goods totalling $ 89.80 mn to Iraq and imported only goods of $ 0.19 mn from Iraq during 2013. Tea has been a major export item to Iraq accounting for about 95% of the total exports to Iraq. It is also estimated that almost 15,000 MT of Ceylon tea is being exported to Iraq indirectly through Dubai, Jordan and Kuwait.
"In the past Sri Lanka bought and refined our oil but has discontinued. You can buy our Basra Light brand of crude and we are ready to supply them to you as we are a top buyer of Ceylon Tea. You can refine Basra light crude to more than 50%, even up to 60% here," Khalaf said.