“I am optimistic on a quick solution” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen after his urgent consultations with his top officials recently..
“Russia and Sri Lanka have long-standing friendly and cordial relations. This ban is not a refusal of Sri Lanka by Russia but only a temporary stoppage of one export product from us. Only reason for our concern is that nearly 80% of our exports to Russia is Ceylon Tea. .
Last year (2016) Russia ranked as the second largest buyer of all types of Ceylon Teas (including green tea made in Sri Lanka) at $ 143 Mn–the leading buyer in 2016 was Iran, at $ 154.10 Mn. However, in 2015 Russia was the topmost buyer of Ceylon Tea at $156.65 Mn, and the second leading buyer was Turkey.
According Department of Commerce Ceylon Tea exports to Russia from January to August this year totalled US $ 114.18 Mn (83% of all types of Lankan exports to Russia from January to August 2017). Other main items that Sri Lanka exports to Russia are apparel, vegetable textile fibres, other clothing accessories (including gloves).
Sri Lanka’s total trade (both imports and exports) with the Russian Federation which was at US $ 435.83 Mn in 2015 declined to $ 381.71 Mn in 2016. This year in January to August period, it reported a total of US $ 260.78 Mn.