EU envoy hopeful of Sri Lanka regaining GSP Plus

9 May 2017 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in his statement for Europe Day, said that he is hoping for the readmission of Sri Lanka into the preferential trade programme Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus in the coming week.
“I hope that our colleagues in the Member States and in the European Parliament will soon indicate that they are happy for readmission to take place,” Tung-Lai 
Margue said.
A majority of Members of European Parliament last month defeated a resolution put forth by a small collection of their peers to deny Sri Lanka readmission to 
GSP Plus.

Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva worked deftly at the eleventh hour to convince the European parliamentarians of the commitment to reforms by the Sri Lankan government amidst intense speculation that Sri Lanka would lose the vote, which earned him praise from one of Sri Lanka’s 
opposition parties.
The final vote on Sri Lanka’s re-entrance to the GSP Plus scheme is scheduled to take place next week.
The European Commission recommended the European Parliament to grant GSP Plus to Sri Lanka this January, taking into consideration the commitment to reforms by the current government.
Margue said that Sri Lanka’s GSP Plus journey required intense collaboration with the EU. 
“Getting there took many hours of intense collaboration between Sri Lanka and the EU, as together we examined Sri Lanka’s compliance with the 27 international conventions on which the GSP Plus assessment is based,” he said. 
He added that the election of the current government marked a renewal of bilateral ties between the EU and 
Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka and the European Union reset our relationship: we renewed our cooperation, broadening our political dialogue to cover a wide range of topics, from fisheries exports to trade, from agriculture to climate change, as well as often difficult and sensitive topics such as national reconciliation, good governance, human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
GSP Plus is likely to save Sri Lanka over US $ 1.5 billion in tariffs at the EU border and most of the benefits are required to be passed down to labourers. The concession is also likely to help create new export ventures.
Sri Lankan businesses could enjoy the facility for the next three years or more, depending on the country’s future growth.
The EU absorbed 30.1 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports worth US $ 3.1 billion in 2016, up from 28.7 percent or US $ 3.02 billion in 2015. The current government was able to comply with standards and remove the EU fishing ban on Sri Lanka last year, which helped boost exports to the EU.

 

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