Import of duty-free vehicles: No concessions for diplomats

The Department of Trade and Investment Policy under the Finance Ministry has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the suspension of the import of vehicles for public sector employees on concessionary terms is still effective and therefore would apply to the diplomatic service as well.

The Department officials said they had sent out the communication following a Foreign Ministry circular issued in June on the grounds that it may create a misconception that vehicles could be imported by those in the diplomatic service overseas.
The Department informed the Ministry to refrain from granting authorisation to ship or import motor vehicles under the particular circular as the Ministry of Finance or the Customs would not give clearance.

However, the Foreign Ministry’s Overseas Administration Director General Prasanna Gamage told the Sunday Times that he believed there had been a misconception about the circular issued by the Ministry. He said it had been misread and had been issued with the concurrence of the Treasury.

Mr. Gamage said the Ministry was only trying to issue a single circular which would be applicable to the diplomatic staff and the other public sector employees, as there were two different circulars earlier.

The Government has currently suspended the import of vehicles for public sector employees on concessionary terms.