EghtesadOnline: Iran has described as “impossible” Sri Lanka’s proposal to clear its oil debts worth $250 million to Iran with tea.
Lucille Wijewardena, chairman of Sri Lankan Tea Syndicate, said the offer made by the syndicate is an attempt to get round restrictions on transactions with Iranian banks. Sales and Marketing Manager of Iran Tea Organization Goudarz Khordadpour explained that as Iran produces 25,000 tons of tea annually and its import needs stand at a maximum of 55,000 tons worth $275,000, the money Ceylon Petroleum Corporation–Sri Lanka’s state-owned fuel supplier–owes Iran is 900 times as much as Iran’s entire tea import bill, Mehr News Agency reported. Sri Lanka has a 50% share in Iran’s tea import market. Iran, as Sri Lanka’s fourth biggest tea importer, accounting for 9.5% of the country’s tea exports, bought 27,500 tons of tea from the South Asian country in 2017, Colombo Page, a Sri Lankan Internet newspaper, reported.