The European Union(EU) yesterday proposed to restore the GSP+ trade concessions to Sri Lanka after taking the country’s unwavering commitment to strengthen good governance, human rights, labour conditions and environment protection into account.
The EU in recognition of Sri Lanka’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on five spheres including Human Rights, has made a proposal for the restoration of this facility to Sri Lanka. These one way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66 per cent of tariff lines covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries.
The European Parliament and the Council now have up to four months to raise potential objections before the measures become effective.
The EU decided to withdraw the GSP+ facility in 2010, over the previous regime’s inability to assure human rights, promote reconciliation and to comply with international labour regulations. These trade concessions were designed to support developing countries.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malstorm said the GSP+ preference can make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development by increasing export to the EU market.
“But it also reflects the way in which we want to support Sri Lanka in implementing human rights, rule of law and good governance reforms. I am confident of seeing timely and substantial further progress in these areas, and the GSP+ dialogue and monitoring features will support this reform process,”Malstorm said.
“This should include making Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism legislation fully compatible with international human rights convention,”she added. However, she said that granting access to the GSP+ scheme does not mean that the situation of the country with respect to the 27 international conventions is fully satisfactory.
“It offers the incentive of increased trade access in return for further progress towards the full implementation of those conventions,”she said .
“It also provides a
platform for engagement with beneficiaries on all problematic areas,”the EU Trade Commissioner points out.