Rejected fertilizer shipment will not be accepted: Sri Lankan PM to China


Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has told the Chinese Ambassador here that a ship carrying rejected Chinese fertilizer will not be accepted, but assured the diplomat that Colombo would place a fresh order to replace the contaminated shipment.

Agriculture Minister Mahindanada Aluthgamage told reporters on Thursday that Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong called on the Prime Minister at his official residence – Temple Trees – on Wednesday.

During his meeting with the prime minister, the Chinese Ambassador also discussed the fertilizer shipment which was turned down by Sri Lankan authorities due to failure to meet specifications, Aluthgamage said.

“The Prime Minister maintained a position that the shipment that already sailed from China cannot be accepted,” Aluthgamage was quoted as saying by Sri Lanka’s News 1st channel. “The Prime Minister’s stance was that Sri Lanka will buy a new shipment with required specifications.”

Earlier, Aluthgamage had said that the ship which was turned back by Sri Lanka but now reportedly on its way back would not be allowed entry into the port.

Sri Lankan government-owned Ceylon Fertilizer Company had obtained a commercial high court order to block a payment of USD 4.9 million to China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech over the shipment of organic fertilizer which was found to be contaminated following tests.

The enjoining order prevented the local bank from making any payment under a Letter of Credit opened in favour of the Chinese company.

The Chinese embassy here protested the decision and said the Chinese seller requests both parties to entrust the Swiss SGS group to do resampling to test if the shipment had been contaminated.

It insisted that the decision made by the Sri Lankan authorities to reject organic fertilizer is not only questionable but also causing great financial loss to the Chinese company.

The fertilizer issue has triggered farmer protests due to non-availability of chemical fertilizers.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in May ordered a halt to importing chemical fertilizers to turn the island nation’s agriculture sector to 100 per cent organic.

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