The Government temporarily banned imports of over 300 ‘non-essential commodities’ ranging from electronic items, to food items, and clothing with effect from 23 August, until further notice.
The regulations were issued via an Extraordinary Gazette. Accordingly, over 300 items including chocolates, spectacles, suitcases, pressure cookers, toasters, wristwatches, telephones, air conditioners, cosmetics, perfumes, musical instruments, clothing, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were temporarily banned from being imported.
However, commodities shipped on or before 23 August and scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka before 14 September will be granted Customs clearance. The ban applies on a plethora of consumer goods and on some investment goods imports. This Gazette, however, is not applicable to BOI firms, re-exporters, and other entities requiring approval from the Finance Ministry and Industries Ministry. Other businesses involved in processing and re-export could import suspended goods, with the approval of the Controller General of Imports and Exports Control on recommendation of the Industries Ministry Secretary or Export Development Board Director General, on a case-by-case basis. Any other request for importation of any goods specified in the Gazette by any other party could be entertained by the Controller General of Imports and Exports Control, subject to the approval of the Finance Minister, on the recommendation of the Treasury Secretary “for the purpose of direct usage, not for trading purposes, of such enterprises, on a case-by-case basis,” the gazette notification said.
The Controller General of Imports and Exports would issue operational instructions to the Director General of Customs and licensed banks for effective implementation of these regulations.