GSP Plus facility:
‘Sub-Committee to finalise application soon’
The Sub-Committee formed by the Department of Commerce, to have the
GSP Plus benefit restored, is preparing the draft application which
includes a comprehensive report on the issues raised by the European
Union, Director General, Department of Commerce, Sonali Wijeratne told
the Sunday Observer.
She said the Committee held a series of consultations with the
relevant line agencies and ministries responsible for the implementation
of the 27 International UN Conventions and it is in the process of
preparing the draft application on similar lines as per the previous
applications for GSP Plus trade concessions.
The application is expected to be finalised within a month. When the
GSP Plus was taken up by the Sub-Committee on Economic Affairs chaired
by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe mid this year, it was agreed that
a political strategy be formulated to coordinate with members of the
European Parliament and campaign in support of trade concessions,
She said the timeframe for Sri Lanka to regain the trade benefit
which will enable it to export to EU markets at zero duty, depends on
the date of clearance of the IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated)
fisheries ban on Sri Lanka and the procedural decision-making process on
a new GSP Plus application by the EU.
Regarding the fisheries ban she said, a technical mission from the
European Commission is expected in Sri Lanka during the first week of
next month to evaluate and verify steps taken to meet EU needs. If the
outcome of the visit is positive, then the Commission would de-list Sri
Lanka from the IUU ban. This process would take around two to three
months. After Sri Lanka is de-listed, the country will be eligible to
launch the GSP+ application and, thereafter, the final decision on
granting the preferences will take around 10 months.