In response to the overwhelming reports of imported spices being re-shipped from Sri Lanka to India and Pakistan as Sri Lankan products, Sri Lankan Cabinet had taken a decision on 12 February 2019 of the "Suspension of the importation of spices through different methods for solving the issues affecting the local spices and the related manufacturing industry."
As it is widely known and highly reported by India's farmers and industry, many of Viet Nam's pepper enter India via Sri Lanka under the India - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. Pepper that come from Viet Nam to Sri Lanka would then be repacked and re-exported to India as Sri Lankan pepper. This illegal pepper coming under the India - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement circumvented the minimum import price of INR 500/Kg fixed by India's Government for Pepper. As a result of this, illegal pepper flooded India' market and pushed down the price of pepper even more.
Hon. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Sri Lanka, made the proposal to suspend the importation for export processing and importation of Pepper, Arecanuts, Nutmeg/Mace, Tamarind and Cinnamon to Sri Lanka tentatively, through the Entreport Trade and Commercial Hub Operations and to establish a mechanism needed for the prevention of the above imported spices being re-shipped from Sri Lanka to India and Pakistan as Sri Lankan products and to prevent exportation of such spices and recording them as products from Sri Lanka. The decision was approved by the Sri Lankan Cabinet in the hope of solving the issues affecting the local spices and the related manufacturing industry.