GSP Plus unaffected by trade restrictions, helped by fall in GNI | Daily News

GSP Plus unaffected by trade restrictions, helped by fall in GNI

Head of Cooperation European  Delegation Frank Hess
Head of Cooperation European Delegation Frank Hess

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP Plus) that Sri Lankan exporters currently enjoy will not be impacted by the trade restrictions imposed by the government. The agreement’s eligibility period is also likely to be extended given the fall in Gross National Income following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Head of Cooperation European Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Frank Hess said, “Let me be very clear. There is no link whatsoever between GSP Plus and import restrictions. Why do we give GSP Plus? We give GSP Plus as a unilateral trade concession because Sri Lanka has committed to itself to implement a number of UN conventions on environmental issues, social issues, and governance. As long as Sri Lanka does that, Sri Lanka does qualify for that program.”

Hess noted, “Whatever Sri Lanka does on import restrictions will not impact that.”

GSP+ is limited to countries that are categorised as being lower income. For a country to qualify they must have a GNI below US$ 4000. Sri Lanka in the recent past crossed this threshold and no longer qualified.

Hess said, “As you know Sri Lanka at some stage crossed that threshold and became a middle-income country. In this case, there is a transition period of 3-4 years. In the (transition) period Sri Lanka has fallen and is again below this threshold. That means Sri Lanka is able to qualify for GSP Plus.”

Hess was speaking at the Taj Samudra on February 24 at a EU-Sri Lanka trade-related assistance meeting.

The European Union is to reform the way GSP Plus is regulated and changes are due between 2022 and 2023.

The European Union sends delegations to monitor the progress Sri Lanka has made on its commitments. Due to COVID-19, the European Union has not been able to send a delegation.