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Sri Lanka affirms there are no restrictions on Maldivian fish exports

Shahudha Mohamed
20 November 2020, MVT 09:17
Workers at Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Ltd fisheries factory at Felivaru, Lhaviyani Atoll. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED
Shahudha Mohamed
20 November 2020, MVT 09:17

Neighbouring Sri Lanka’s government, on Thursday, assured Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid that there will be no restrictions in importing fish and fish products from Maldives to Lanka.

Following this affirmation, Minister Shahid welcomed Sri Lanka’s decision, and expressed his appreciation for the special bond of cooperation and friendship with Lanka.

The exchange comes after a shipment of Maldivian fish products that was held up at Sri Lanka's Customs was released on Saturday by the neighbouring country's authorities and cleared for distribution.

In August, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced intentions to halt the import of fish products as part of the measures to protect the country's domestic industries from foreign competition.

Several Maldivian fishermen raised concerns that Sri Lanka's policy shift has resulted in export difficulties with the delays requiring them to discard certain portions.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the shipment was released after Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and the Maldivian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka discussed the matter with some of the country's leading officials.

The ministry had noted that further deliberations were ongoing to ensure the streamlined export of fish to Sri Lanka.

On October 16, Minister Shahid stated that Sri Lankan authorities guaranteed that there would be no restrictions on Maldivian fish exports to the neighbouring country.

The foreign minister made the announcement following discussions with Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

The Maldivian fisheries industry was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with several major exporters reporting lower sales.

The majority of Maldives' export revenue is sourced from exports of fish products, with raw fish shipments accounting for as much as 70 percent.

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