Sri Lanka imposes import restrictions on 367 'non-essential' items

Colombo: Sri Lanka has imposed import restrictions on 367 items such as milk products, fruits and fish that have been dubbed non-essential as part of the bid to tackle the economic crisis triggered by forex shortages.

The import control by a Gazette notification dated March 9 makes the 367 items to be barred from importing without a valid license.

It mostly relates to food items such as fish meat, fish fillets, milk and cream, buttermilk, curdled milk and cream, yogurt, butter and other fat and oil derived from milk; dairy spreads, cheese and curd, grapes, fresh or dried, apples, pears, chocolate and oranges.

Any importers, who intend to import any goods specified in the Gazette, are entitled to have a valid license issued by the Controller General of Imports and Exports Control prior to the date of Bill of Lading: Airway Bill of such importation, the notice said.

While some items have been brought under licensing, some have been subjected to taxes and some under taxes and licensing, the government said.

The controls are for a limited period to help stabilise the economy, the statement said.

The move came after this week’s decision to float the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar.

Sri Lanka has been going through its worst economic crisis since mid-December when its foreign reserves fell to a historic low.

As a result, the island nation’s economy faced shortages of essentials and an energy crisis with imports of coal and furnace oil in short supply to generate thermal power to supplement the national grid.

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