EU delegation to discuss GSP, reconciliation with Sri Lanka

A European Union (EU) Parliament delegation is to visit Sri Lanka this week to assess the progress on national reconciliation and the implementation of conventions applicable to GSP plus.

A four-member delegation from the European Parliament, led by Jean Lambert, will be in Sri Lanka from October 31 to November 3.

The delegation will meet government and civil society representatives and discuss Sri Lanka’s progress on national reconciliation and its implementation of the international conventions applicable to the GSP plus trade concession.

Sri Lanka regained access to the European Union’s GSP plus trade concession in May after losing it earlier over the island’s failure to meet commitments related to human rights and labour rights.

The EU noted that if Sri Lanka continues to make the necessary progress, then the country has the chance to benefit from the scheme until it achieves Upper Middle Income country status for three consecutive years. On current trends, that should mean that Sri Lanka will benefit from GSP+ until at least 2021.

The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. In 2016, total bilateral trade amounted to almost €4 billion, and EU imports from Sri Lanka amounted to €2.6 billion.

The removal of import duties provide a total of immediate benefits worth in excess of EUR 300 million a year.

However the EU had said in May, that as is the case for all countries benefitting from GSP Plus, the removal of customs duties for Sri Lanka will be accompanied by rigorous monitoring. (Colombo Gazette)


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