The NCE commends the unity government on its success in regaining the GSP Plus facility after overcoming the final hurdle in the EU Parliament.
This will undoubtedly provide the much needed impetus to Sri Lankan exports to facilitate accelerated economic development.
The GSP Plus Preference would entail the full removal of duties on 66 percent of tariff lines, covering a wide range of products including textiles and garments, fisheries products, rubber products, and machinery.
Since the EU consisting of 27 countries is the biggest export market for Sri Lanka accounting for 1/3 of total global exports of the country, the concessions can make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development by increasing exports to the EU market especially by the apparel sector which accounts for 46 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports. In 2015 EU imports from Sri Lanka amounted to 2.6 billion Euros which highlights the significance of the concessions that will
There are eight GSP Plus beneficiaries among
In this context the Chamber notes that Sri Lanka will have a particular advantage over competitor countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines for exports especially in the textiles and garments sector.
GSP Plus currently covers 13 beneficiaries: Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines. Sri Lanka was a beneficiary country since 2005 to 2010.
The Chamber notes with satisfaction the focus of the Government and its efforts since assuming office in January 2015 to regain the facility, which has now borne fruit, after its initial success in lifting the ban on fisheries exports to the EU market.
The Chamber is conscious of the fact that Sri Lankan exporters will undoubtedly face certain challenges, in regaining the hitherto lost markets related to the EU. Additionally another challenge will be the withdrawal of the UK from the EU or ‘Brexit’, since the UK is the main EU country for Sri Lankan Exporters.
With a view to educate exporters on the benefits related to the GSP Plus facility, the rules and regulations pertaining to exports to the EU, quality requirements of the Products and Services, and measures to overcome the challenges when exporting to the EU to derive maximum benefit, the Chamber will conduct a Forum during the last week of May 2017. There will be relevant ministers, and Ambassadors invited to provide an overview on the issues and benefits related to the GSP Plus facility. Additionally officials from the Department of Commerce and the Export Development Board will also be invited to make presentations on specific issues related to the facility. The forum is expected to immensely benefit exporters.