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European Commission proposes GSP+ facilities to Sri lanka

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Published: 09:29 GMT, Jan 12, 2017 |
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The European Commission has proposed GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka in exchange of the government’s commitment to ratify 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.

Removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued commitment to sustainable development, human rights and good governance.

The Commission on Wednesday (Jan 11) proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance. These one-way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines, covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries.

These preferences would come under a special arrangement of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences, known as GSP+. 

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “GSP+ preferences can make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development by increasing exports to the EU market. But this 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. This should include making Sri Lankan counter-terrorism legislation fully compatible with international human rights conventions.”

‘These one-way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines, covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries,’ the statement further said.

The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. In 2015, total bilateral trade amounted to €4.7 billion. EU imports from Sri Lanka amounted to €2.6 billion and consisted mainly of textiles as well as rubber products and machinery.