Speaking at the conclusion of a two day visit by a team of US government officials to Sri Lanka, Assistant United States Trade Representative Michael Delaney said that there have been some media reports which have mischaracterized the United States GSP review process.
“I would like to clarify that the United States GSP program is wholly independent of any other countries’ review. Our GSP review is solely focused on labor rights. In addition, the GSP trade benefits continue during the ongoing review process,” the US Embassy quoted him as saying.
The US official said that they have had very cordial and productive meetings during the visit to Sri Lanka with the Government of Sri Lanka, union leaders, company representatives, and other interested parties.
Delaney commented that “we are encouraged by our meetings with these groups. We will continue our collaborative process of dialogue, and we look forward to working together on the issue of labor rights in Sri Lanka.”
Michael Delaney led an interagency team to Colombo on August 2 and 3 to engage in a dialogue with the Government of Sri Lanka on concerns related to a complaint under the United States Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program that Sri Lanka is not affording workers internationally recognized worker rights.
The United States team included representatives from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and the Departments of Labor and State. In addition to meeting with the Government of Sri Lanka, the U.S. delegation also met with labor unions, employer associations, and other interested parties. Adherence to international labor standards is mandatory under the United States GSP program.