Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 20 March 2016





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Government Gazette

Multi-ministerial effort to regain GSP plus

The Foreign Ministry is coordinating a multi-ministerial effort to fulfil criteria to reapply for the European Union’s GSP plus tariff concessions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maheshini Kolonne said. In repsonse to a query by the Sunday Observer she said, it was difficult to say when Sri Lanka will be ready to apply for the tariff concessions, since more needs to be done to become eligible to submit the application.

A crucial meeting on reviving the GSP plus will be held, when an EU delegation is expected to visit Sri Lanka in April this year. The EU had turned human rights and reconciliation, a basis to revoke the trade tariff concessions on which Sri Lanka is pinning its hopes to revive its export sector, especially exports to the European market.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica who visited the country last week said it will take nearly 10 months to process an application to resume the GSP plus facility, from the point of submission.

Indicating that they had recognised the work, Sri Lanka had done so far he said, “It is a process on track” and added, “I would not say Sri Lanka has not done enough.”

The Commissioner said the reconciliation process is a ‘very complicated and delicate’ issue, and the ‘EU stands ready to compliment Sri Lanka’s reconciliation and democratic process’.

However, the EU does not provide trariff concessions to upper middle income economies. Their latest development aid of Euro 38 million pledged last week aims at supporting Sri Lanka in its transition to become an upper middle income country.

Commissioner Mimica who is a Croatian politician, held a series of high level meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, other political leaders and members of civil society during his three-day visit here. He also opened the new EU delegation office next to the British High Commission last week.

EU is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner. Nearly 40 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total exports reach Europe every year. Till 2011, Sri Lanka was among 16 chosen countries which enjoyed special GSP plus tariff lines. The special concessions continued for two consecutive three-year-terms, until it was interrupted by allegations of human rights violations.


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