By Jamila Najmuddin
EU Member States decided today to temporarily withdraw preferential tariff benefits to Sri Lanka under a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP plus, the European Commission of Trade announced a short while ago.
When contacted by Daily Mirror online the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Brussels Ravinatha Aryasingha confirmed that the EU had formally informed him of the decision to temporarily withdraw the trade concession.
He said that the decision by the EU has now been conveyed to Colombo and a formal response by Sri Lanka is expected to be made tomorrow.
The formal announcement follows an exhaustive investigation by the European Commission, which identified significant shortcomings in respect of Sri Lanka’s implementation of three UN human rights conventions relevant for benefits under the scheme, the EU said.
The EU however said that suspension of GSP+ benefits is temporary, as the overarching EU objective remains to use GSP+ as an incentive to underpin improvements in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The suspension will only take effect in six months time, giving Sri Lanka extra time to address the problems identified.
Meanwhile government sources in Colombo said that Sri Lanka is likely to challenge the decision by the EU to suspend the Trade concession and will seek to maintain dialogue with EU member states while not agreeing to a human rights probe.
Meanwhile EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said on his website, "I would like to emphasise that I hope Sri Lanka will sit with us over the next six months in order to agree upon a set of measures that will result in rapid, demonstrable and sustainable progress in relation to the human rights shortcomings we have identified."
The EU remains open to a full dialogue with the government of Sri Lanka, above all to encourage it to take the necessary steps towards an effective implementation of GSP+-relevant human rights conventions. The EU will closely monitor and regularly re-evaluate developments in this area. Once sufficient progress has been made, the Commission will propose to EU Member States that the decision taken today be reversed and GSP+ benefits restored.
The decision to withdraw GSP + benefits from Sri Lanka has been taken in line with the proposal of the European Commission of December 2009.
The temporary withdrawal takes effect 6 months from now. At that time, Sri Lankan exports would revert to standard GSP preferences as provided for in the current GSP Regulation (732/08). These preferences will still be more generous for key Sri Lankan exports such as clothing than those provided by other major developed countries. (Daily Mirror online)
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:53 AM
Is this news? How many times they withdrew this ?
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:26 AM
Do you know what GSP stands for???
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:29 AM
SriLanka will not mind it till ICR+ is with them providing all necessary support. ICR+ (India, China, Russia)
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:30 AM
ha ha.. its is very sad these UNP supporters think that sri lankan economy should depend on GSP+, further more underwear garments. why we can not start technical related factories?, IT related companies? agriculture base industries ?
All these commentators blind from their political view. Not to mention ,I am sure these people are more happy about this suspension .
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:33 AM
Can any government of a country respecting human rights could tolerate the inhuman undemocratic acts of the Sri Lankan Government as evident from Gen. Fonseka's treatment. So, the withdrawal of the GSP plus facility is not a surprise.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:36 AM
Good that these concessions are not there. It's time that the private sector cuts down a bit of its lavish spending and increases its efficiency rather than always crying for concessions and subsidies.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:42 AM
GSP or No GSP the royal family will survive. However, i really dont know how well the average Perera will survive.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:46 AM
Respected Prof. GL Peris would take necessary legal measures to fix EU soon
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:48 AM
As rajapaksha says Sri Lanka does not require any assistance from west as the country has a lot money. We saw huge amount of money spent on presidential election campaign by the government and also the namal rajapaksa who even is not employed. If an unemployed youth has colosal amount of money why should we go for the west for concessions or assistance.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:50 AM
No Problem Juki Girls...
Royal Family will buy all the ready-made garments !.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:25 AM
We do not have to depend on EU, as a Sri Lankan one nation shall find out our own solution. We should not carry plitical difference for our life time. Once the election is over we have to work together better for the country. Stop this foolish critisising system. This way we never going to stand our self.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:59 AM
It's not a problem for Royal Family !.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 05:00 AM
No Wonder, God bless Sri Lanka and me ..
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 05:15 AM
Can sell it to Don't forget India and China
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 05:35 AM
Why...??? We have Russia, China, Pakistan
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 05:36 AM
He will solve everything other than relevant matter.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 07:49 AM
Upul you are a day dreamer like about 45% of this country. Oh yes we can survive without GSP. Lets see how we and you will be the first one who will run away when you are affected . Big talk as usual
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 07:57 AM
GL Pieris, what are you going to say about this now. Mann, you became a fool joining with a bunch of fools. Being a great professor you are now being with them and does-not know the value of GSP plus.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 08:02 AM
EU please remember we have 6 star D-E-M-O –C-R-A-C-Y, we have arrested not only the defeated presidential candidates and his aids but also his young son –in- law also very soon.
Thursday, 18 February 2010 09:54 AM
Cabraal says we can do without GSP+ but Mahinda Samarasinghe is trying hard to get it back.
Monday, 15 February 2010 10:01 PM
'SUBA ANAGATHAYAK'! Now we can sell our undies to Myanmar, Iran, Libya ...
Monday, 15 February 2010 06:43 PM
Lanka is going to take EU to court? Funny!
Monday, 15 February 2010 07:14 PM
All the thuggery, human rights violations, election malpractices etc., have taken their toll. 'Suba Anagathayak,' is around the corner?
Monday, 15 February 2010 07:18 PM
THIS GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CARE, SO LONG AS THEY ARE IN POWER.
Monday, 15 February 2010 07:38 PM
Sri Lanka will still survive, without GSP+.
Monday, 15 February 2010 07:49 PM
Didn't we know this earlier. Where are our 'big mouth' ministers, to critize this decision?
Monday, 15 February 2010 08:18 PM
The government is taking the SL economy 'down the toilet.'
Monday, 15 February 2010 08:52 PM
I guess 'the writing is on the wall'!
Monday, 15 February 2010 09:17 PM
If we want to be the part of the competitive world we have to play according to the rules of the existing system.
Monday, 15 February 2010 09:24 PM
Another 'election result'!
Monday, 15 February 2010 06:36 PM
'Suba Anagathayak,' Yahaluwane!
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 12:18 AM
Beginning of the end of the Sri Lankan economy ...
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:13 AM
Is Sri Lanka going to file a case against the EU in Sri Lanka Supreme Court?
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:14 AM
Western punishment for the anti western stands
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:16 AM
Yes. It is the EU decision and it is not end of the world. SL has to come up from it rather than bending to their demands. If China & India had bent to the west to keep their business they would not have achieved what they have now. Come on Sri Lanka you can do better without the GSP+ the way we won the War without west support.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:17 AM
Before go to file a case against the EU meet Maha Raja and tell him to correct his bad behaviour and lead the country to good path leaving the bad thugs away from his association then next time we can get GSP + and due recognition from International community
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:19 AM
Dear friends, as long as Bandula Gunawardena is there, you don't have to worry. He will solve this.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:22 AM
Sri Lanka will survive without GSP, what about the Garment workers? Who is going to give job to them? Our politicians have enough wealth to survive for centuries.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:24 AM
Subha Anagathayak, these are the results of government's activities. Will our poor people understand this?
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