Strengthening bilateral trade cooperation further, China’s powerful official organ in charge of import commodity inspections, has despatched its first expert study team to Sri Lanka, signalling that China is opening for Sri Lanka’s agro-exports.
The official quarantine study team from the powerful official organ in charge of import commodity inspections, Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (ADSIQ-China) has arrived in Sri Lanka on 05 February and begun work on 06 February, by liaising with the EDB. The three member team is scheduled to return to China on 12 March.
During his official visit to Kunming, China in June 2012, Minister Trade and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen made an official request to Gu Zhaoxi, Deputy Governor of People’s Government of Yunnan Province on China’s quarantining of Sri Lankan perishables. The EDB under Minister Bathiudeen was informed by Lankan exporters of the difficulties when exporting fresh agricultural products to China which Minister Bathiudeen was representing to Chinese officials.
Thereafter, Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (ADSIQ-China) through the Sri Lankan Embassy in China, sent a questionnaire on the Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) requesting information to proceed with the quarantine protocol of China enabling them to consider granting approval and in July 2012 requested to prioritise the products and to request approval accordingly.
Thereafter, based on Chinese export market potentials, Mango, Banana and Pineapple were selected at the initial stage while on EDBs request, the National Plant Quarantine Service of Department of Agriculture had submitted a PRA to obtain Chinese market access for these three fruits. The EDB subsequently forwarded the same to the ADSIQ through the Sri Lankan Embassy in China.
“When it comes to China-Sri Lanka bilateral trade, we in China lack knowledge on the production processes of Sri Lankan agro sector” said Peng Jinhuo, Division Head of Inspection and Quarantine Authority (Liaoning based), who leads the team to Sri Lanka. “Our main objective during this tour is the capacity evaluation of Sri Lanka’s banana value chain. In that, we are looking for first-hand learning of value chains. We also want to learn of Sri Lankan rules on agro exports” added Jinhuo.
“We welcome you to study our agro products” said Sujatha Weerakoon (Director General, EDB) addressing Division Head Jinhuo, and said: “Our agro exports have strong standing in international markets. It is time that China experience them too.”
A presentation by Dr DPP Jayakodi (Additional Director, National Plant Quarantine Service) on quarantine procedures used in Sri Lanka exports, was also made to the visiting Chinese delegation at the EDB.
According to the Department of Commerce, Sri Lanka’s bilateral trade with China stood at $ 2.67 Bn, with the balance of trade in favour of China. Apparel, mineral sands, mattress fiber, coir fiber, rubber and tea (bulk) and tyres and tubes are the top Sri Lankan exports to China. In 2012, China bought $ 0.02 Mn of fruits from Sri Lanka (including bananas). Biggest importer of Sri Lankan fruits in 2012 was Saudi Arabia ($ 4.28 Mn of fruits), followed by India, UAE, Maldives, Qatar and 33 other countries. According to the EDB, Sri Lanka’s total fruit exports in 2012 stood at $ 18.69 Mn.