Lankan fisheries exports to EU double post GSP+ | Daily News

Lankan fisheries exports to EU double post GSP+

Minister Malik Samarawickrama, EU Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue at the event
Minister Malik Samarawickrama, EU Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue at the event

Sri Lankan fisheries exports to Europian Union (EU) have literally doubled since the removal of the fish ban and regaining GSP+’ Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama told the ‘EU Dialogue’ event in Colombo.

“There has also been an increase of over 20% of other exports since the re-instatement of GSP+ concessions. I am certain that our exporters will make maximum use of the duty-free access to the EU in the next few years, which will help to improve Sri Lanka’s economy.”

EU is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner with 16% of total in 2018 and more significantly, the EU is Sri Lanka’s main export destination with nearly 30% of Sri Lankan export of goods going to Europe.

He also thanked EU Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue and his officials for assisting Sri Lanka in obtaining GSP+ concessions which has greatly helped Sri Lanka to increase exports to the European Union.

The Minister also said that through the EU supported Trade-Related Assistance Programme Sri Lanka has undertaken many policy reform initiatives, ranging from trade facilitation, regulatory change, the NES, the trade remedies process, SME trade capacity building, and the list goes on.

“This is just one aspect of the numerous reforms the government has undertaken – including the setting up of the first industrial zones in 16 years, the repealing of the contentious ‘Expropriations Act’, removing para-tariffs, bringing in modern tax and foreign exchange laws, and most recently e-procurement systems.”

“These will all begin to work in sync to help improve the climate for foreign business in Sri Lanka. We won’t see the change overnight; we won’t feel the gains overnight. But such is the nature of difficult but groundbreaking reforms. We cannot afford to slide back to the systems and policy-orientation of before. Our economy cannot afford it.”

“We are also in the process of improving on ‘Doing Business Index’ and that is why we have 8 task forces working on 8 aspects of it, and some of those reforms got recognised this year – lifting our rank by 11 places.

“However, it is not only the ‘Doing Business Index’ that we are focused on. Not all business climate constraints are neatly codified in an annual report. We recognise that such constraints come from time to time and are varied in their nature. So, we must have mechanisms to resolve them as they come up.”

The Minister said that though some may feel that the government isn’t progressing fast enough, making reforms in Government is not easy. “We have to keep pushing forward, and changing how things are run in the public sector. When for over a decade, between 2005 and 2015 we had a regime that prioritized discretion over systems, and patronage over transparency, it takes a while to roll that back and bring in better systems. We took a while to re-set how Government interacts with business, with investors.”

“This joint effort between the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka and the Ministry was started in January 2017 to improve the regulatory and business environment in the country in order to increase trade and investment between EU and Sri Lanka. We value the EU’s GSP Plus concessions, we value the trade assistance programme, and we value the political and diplomatic support EU always extends us.”

The Minister also said that through the EU supported Trade-Related Assistance Programme Sri Lanka has undertaken many policy reform initiatives, ranging from trade facilitation, regulatory change, the NES, the trade remedies process, SME trade capacity building, and the list goes on.

“This is just one aspect of the numerous reforms the government has undertaken – including the setting up of the first industrial zones in 16 years, the repealing of the contentious ‘Expropriations Act’, removing para-tariffs, bringing in modern tax and foreign exchange laws, and most recently e-procurement systems. (SS)


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