Russia to discuss restricted tea imports with Sri Lanka in December

Tea leaves

(Photo by Rashid on Unsplash)

Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor plans to discuss restricted tea imports with Sri Lanka at the end of December, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Russia placed temporary restrictions on imports of tea and all other agricultural products from Sri Lanka from Dec. 18 after a beetle was found in a tea consignment.

The watchdog met a delegation led by Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Russia in Moscow on Tuesday and requested information about steps being taken in Sri Lanka to secure the safety of tea intended for export to Russia.

The insect, known as the Khapra beetle, was discovered in the packaging of the consignment of tea from Sri Lanka, which has said it was an isolated case and that it would work with the Russian authorities to resolve the issue.

Russia was the second largest buyer of Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea after Iran in 2016 with $143 million worth of purchases, according to Sri Lanka’s Industry Ministry.

Sri Lankan tea accounts for 23 percent of the Russian market, with other supplies coming from India, Kenya, China and Vietnam, according to Rusteacoffee association.