FTA with China is important, so is the tariff structure: Nestle Lanka


by Sanath Nanayakkare

(L-R) Bandula Egodage, vice president corporate affairs and communication of Nestle Lanka PLC, Pradeep Gunawardana, Chairman, Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) and Shivani Hegde, managing director for Nestlé at the SLSI Certification Awards held at Hilton Colombo Residencies, recently. : Photographer: Nishan S. Priyantha

China has provided preferential tariff rates for countries like Philippines and Indonesia for their coconut –based exports to China and we'd also like to have the same facility under the much expected Sri Lanka – China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) slated to be signed, Bandula Egodage, vice president corporate affairs and communication of Nestle Lanka PLC told The Island Financial Review in Colombo, last week.

This view expressed by Nestle Lanka is valid as Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake urged Nestle Lanka recently in Kurunegala that the Company should up its 'export game' as the government has started negotiations for entering into an FTA with China.

"If such an FTA comes into effect, that will be very good. But our concern is how would the all-important tariff structure of this FTA would be determined. Just as much as FTAs are important with trade giants like China, so are the tariff structures," Egodage said.

When asked, if desired terms are met with, would the Company have a strong enough supply chain to meet the demand from the huge market in China, Egodage said," Yes, we are confident of that as our coconut farming and manufacturing plants have undergone tremendous transformation over the last couple of months".

Egodage made these comments to The Island financial Review at an event where Nestle Lanka's Maggi Coconut Milk Powder, Nespray Nutri-Up and Nescafé Ice Coffee RTD (Ready-To-Drink) were recognised for their high quality standards at the recent Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) Certification Awards.

T.G.G. Dharmawardana, Director General of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution said,""The SLS product certification mark is a symbol of quality, with the product being certified by an independent government body. The people of Sri Lanka can purchase Nestlé Lanka products with more confidence."

Shivani Hegde, Managing Director for Nestlé said, " We’re extremely pleased that our stringent quality standards have been recognized by the SLSI. As the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, we look forward to continuing to delight our consumers with tasty and healthy food and beverages of the highest quality."

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