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Another u-turn ?: Sri Lanka reconsiders its decision to ban palm oil imports

In the wake of international palm oil suppliers including the Malaysian government exerting pressure on the Sri Lankan government, it is likely that the ban imposed on the importation of palm oil will be reversed.

Minister Keheliya Rambukwella noted that there were divergent views on palm oil imports among government top rankers and a discussion was held on this matter on Tuesday (06).

Therefore, the gazette notification issued by the government immediately banning the palm oil imports could be revoked following consultations, he said.        

This statement came in the aftermath of Malaysian government’s concerns about this issue.

Malaysia, one of the two key sources from where Sri Lanka imports palm oil, appears to have been visibly irked by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s move to ban palm oil imports.

Malaysia’s Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Dr. Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali was quoted by Malaysian media as saying that the Sri Lankan government's decision will have no effect on the country’s oil palm industry.

“The world has a population of over seven billion people and we are confident our palm oil will be accepted worldwide. If one party is not interested, many more are interested and most importantly, we give the best quality in the country's palm oil production," Razali was quoted as saying.

He had added that the restrictions imposed by Sri Lanka is a discrimination as Malaysian palm oil is of best quality and has achieved 90 percent Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

"Sri Lanka needs to get complete information from the Malaysian government on the efforts made so that our right to market palm oil abroad is not disputed," he said.

It is estimated Sri Lanka imports about 200,000 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia annually.

Meanwhile, arrangements have been made to re-freight six containers of crude coconut oil imported by Katana Mills, the Customs said.

They said the crude coconut oil containers were kept under customs security. Those containers will be transferred to the SLPA Terminal today prior to re-freighting.

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