Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, who is currently in London said that Sri Lanka hopes Britain will remain in the EU as almost 40% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU is to the UK.
While in London Dr. Harsha de Silva addressed a group of over 200 Sri Lankan British community leaders on why the Government believes the UK should ‘Stay’ in the EU.
“If UK is not a part of the EU we will lose the duty free benefit. True, if UK exits, then we could renegotiate a FTA with the UK, but they will have to do a whole series of FTAs with European nations and others before they get to us. That will certainly take a long time,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said that Sri Lanka does not need any more disruptions in the global economy adding that the challenges Sri Lanka will have to face would be easier to deal with in a more stable global environment.
“While it is each British person to decide, we have and will speak to ‘our community’ to let them know as a country we would like for UK to stay. However, speaking to the Sri Lankan community I got a mixed feeling; some for UK staying and some against,” he added.
Sri Lanka lost the EU GSP plus when the former government was in office for failing to meet several conditions related to human rights.
The new government, which took office last year, gave a commitment to meet the expectations from the EU and implemented some legal amendments in order to be in line to regain GSP. (Colombo Gazette)