The United States has decided not to change the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to Sri Lanka, and the country will continue to get GSP benefits from the US, a US trade representative said.
“The GSP country practice review on worker rights in Sri Lanka has closed without any change to Sri Lanka’s GSP trade benefits,” Ron Kirk, Trade representative for the US said.
The closure of the GSP country practice review of Sri Lanka was based on the Sri Lankan government’s noteworthy efforts to address worker rights issues over the past few years.
“This welcome outcome to the review demonstrates that GSP remains an effective tool for engaging GSP beneficiary countries on worker rights,” he added.
Commenting on this positive gain, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that it was a confirmation of the strong assurance given to him by Michael Delaney, Assistant US Trade Representative, South and Central Area’s Affairs, at a meeting held earlier in June.
U.S. imports from Sri Lanka under GSP totaled $135 million in 2011 and include tires, activated carbon, rubber gloves, plastic products, and kitchenware. As part of the annual GSP review, an interagency U.S. Government committee led by USTR receives and considers petitions seeking to withdraw or limit a country’s eligibility for GSP tariff benefits based on that country’s compliance with statutory eligibility criteria. One such criterion is whether a beneficiary country has not taken or is not taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to workers in the country.