Multinational companies operating at the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake have raised fears of Sri Lanka losing the EU GSP Plus trade concession.
In a statement today, the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ Association (FTZMA) Executive Committee said that the political crisis in the country has had implications for most of the future order books of its members and also has the potential of losing GSP+ for exports to the EU.
FTZMA said that it is one of the largest manufacturing associations representing Katunayake, the largest free trade zone in the country.
The zone employs roughly 45,000 workers and has over 52+ organizations which operate over 80 plants within the zone. The membership is made up of mainly large multinational companies with principals from the US, UK, EU and other countries.
“Since the crisis started on the 26th of October, we have had many concerned inquiries from our customers and other stakeholders both local and international regarding the present political situation in the country. The image portrayed especially in the west has been extremely negative both in the print as well as digital media. Being one of the oldest democracies in the world this has been debilitating and shameful especially some of the recent incidents that took place in Parliament. This has had implications for most of the future order books of our members as well as the potential of losing GSP+ for exports to the EU,” FTZMA said.
FTZMA said that while it important to preserve the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, it must also be accepted that Sri Lanka is operating on a global platform which is highly interconnected and transparent to its end customers and consumers.
“Upholding the Constitution, Law & Order, Consistent policy making, and political & economic stability are key to growing our businesses and attracting further FDI (Foreign Direct Investment). We are extremely disturbed and disappointed with the behavior of all political parties concerned in not reaching a consensus to this political flux. It is important and urgent that all political leaders at loggerhead put the country first rather than their personal agendas,” FTZMA said.
FTZMA warned that Sri Lanka will become uncompetitive and undesirable in the eyes of present and future investors which ultimately affects all constituents of Sri Lanka.
FTZMA urged all in authority to put an end to the political anticlimax and work with and support the private sector to further develop the country. (Colombo Gazette)