The European Union (EU) has raised concerns over the import restrictions enforced by Sri Lanka.
The EU said that the import restrictions are having a negative impact on Sri Lankan and European businesses, and on Foreign Direct Investment.
“Such measures impair Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub and negatively impact Sri Lankan exports by constraining the import of raw material and machinery. We recall that a prolonged import ban is not in line with World Trade Organisation regulations,” the EU said in a statement today.
The Delegation of the European Union (EU) and the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Romania issue the joint statement.
As COVID-19 continues to bring a number of challenges, the Colombo-based Heads of Missions representing the European Union and its Member States, held a series of high-level meetings, including with Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
“On this occasion, we underlined the EU’s long-standing support for Sri Lanka as a reliable partner, including through over 1 billion EUR of grants over the last 25 years, notwithstanding the Member States’ bilateral assistance,” the EU said.
In addition to its significant development cooperation, the EU recalled that it is a crucial economic partner for Sri Lanka.
“Thanks to the EU’s special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), Sri Lanka enjoys competitive, predominantly duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, based on the continued implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour, environment, climate change and good governance. Not least due to these unilateral trade preferences, the EU is the second biggest export market for Sri Lanka worldwide, with a positive trade balance of more than 1 billion EUR (about 220 billion LKR) in 2018 and 2019,” the EU said.
The EU also noted that Sri Lanka’s withdrawal of support for the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 remains a source of concern.
The Government has stated its continuing commitment, including to the EU, to fostering reconciliation, justice and peaceful coexistence among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities.
The EU says it stands ready to support the Government’s efforts in this area adding that the rule of law and a vibrant civil society are essential in this regard. (Colombo Gazette)