Jan 11 (GT) Seawin Biotech, a Chinese company involved in a $49.7 million fertilizer trade dispute with Sri Lanka, has made progress in exporting organic fertilizers to Sri Lanka, the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The dispute, which started in October, centers on Sri Lankan officials’ rejection of the Chinese fertilizers, citing what Chinese sources call shady claims of quality issues.
Chinese producer Seawin Biotech told the Global Times on Tuesday that it had reached an out-of-court settlement over enjoining orders of Letter of Credit dispute with the Sri Lankan side. Industry insiders said the dispute will not affect trade and bilateral relations.
On January 5, Shandong Province-based Seawin Biotech and the Sri Lankan buyer reached an out-of-court settlement on 75 percent of the payment for the first batch of goods in the Lanka Commercial High Court, the company told the Global Times.
"The buyer withdrew the lawsuit and made the payment...the Sri Lankan side also acknowledged that the first batch of goods returned to China was due to the fact that the buyer did not obtain the necessary import license, not because of alleged product quality issues," the source with the company said.
The buyer will obtain the import license as soon as possible, the person added
Seawin Biotech said it will pass the inspection of the third-party testing agency designated by the buyer before re-delivery. At the same time, it requested the addition of the quality confirmation of the international authoritative testing agency SGS Switzerland’s headquarters before shipment.
The person said that the development strategy of green agriculture in Sri Lanka has not changed, and as a leading Chinese company in the research and development, production and sales of new organic fertilizers, the company will continue cooperation with the Sri Lankan side to meet its development needs.
"Our products are certified by the organic certification organization ECOCERT and Organic Materials Review Institute, so they are very suitable for green agriculture in Sri Lanka," the person said.
Industry insiders said that the dispute shouldn’t be politicized or linked to broader issues in bilateral relations, as some foreign media reports implied that Sri Lanka bowed to Chinese pressure.
"The issue of international trade should be solved within the framework and mechanisms of international trade and should not be politicized," Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, an agreement that opened the door for friendly exchanges between the two countries.
"It is expected that the single trade dispute will not affect the relationship of China and Sri Lanka, and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the pact will take the bilateral relationship to a new stage with enhanced mutual trust and benefits for both sides," Xu said.