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Sunday, 8 February 2015

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Re-instating GSP Plus will boost garment exports - Minister Bathiudeen

The proposed Business Facilitation Networking Unit is a timely and welcome step to make our investment process credible and transparent. The Industry and Commerce Ministry will extend its fullest support to this new unit, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen last week.

"I commend the efforts of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to regain the GSP+ facility and re-launch garment factories which were closed as a result of GSP+ withdrawal," he said.

"In 2013, our trade with EU was close to $5 billion and would have been much more if we had GSP+. I also praise the measures to get the EU fish ban removed and resume fish exports to the EU."

The EU suspended the GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka in August 2010. GSP+provided tariff concessions to Sri Lankan exports, specially apparel thereby giving tax free access to EU markets.

Total trade with the EU in 2013 was $ 4.95 billion, compared to $4.94 billion the previous year. Despite withdrawing GSP+, the EU still continues with the GSP facility for Sri Lanka.

EU is Sri Lanka's single largest export market and has also been Sri Lanka's second largest trade partner for a long time. Total exports to EU in 2014 (January-November provisional exports) stood at $3.21 billion.

Sri Lanka's fishery exports increased by 9.99% to $242 million (provisional) from January-November, 2014, while provisional ornamental fish exports increased by 17.33% to $11.51 million, crustacean exports increased by 29% to $51.10 million and edible fish by 5.25% to $179.76 million.

Of Sri Lanka's 75 medium and large scale fishery export companies, 32 use EU-approved processing plants.

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