Responding to complaints by domestic boat builders that duty-free imported boats received an unfair advantage, the government of Sri Lanka has decided to levy taxes against them next year. The announcement was made by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen on opening day of the Sri Lanka boat show.

Bathiyutheen told an audience that the government allowed duty-free boats into the country after a tsunami damaged much of its fishing fleet. But he acknowledged that the duty-free imports have hurt domestic boat builders. "Many vessels, including sub-standard boats, are imported duty free, dealing a blow to our YS$500m boating industry's competitive advantage," Bathiyutheen said at the show.

Bathiyutheen said that the import duties, which will be levied again next year, would allow the “emerging sector to forge ahead successfully.” The taxes will be added to next year’s budget.