Sri Lanka’s exports to the US are set to grow at an accelerated pace following the US government continuing to include Sri Lanka in the renewed US GSP facility, according to a communiqué by the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
“We thank the US government for re-authorizing this crucial trade facility to Sri Lanka. US is the biggest consumer of Sri Lankan exports in the world as well as Lankan apparels,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was signed by US President Obama on June 29, after being forwarded by the House of Representatives and being passed by the Senate in May.
It will bring into force the US GSP Programme until December 2017, providing preferential duty-free entry into the US market for nearly 5000 products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories.
US importers are eligible to claim the import duty paid by them for the eligible products under the US GSP Programme during the lapse in GSP coverage from July 2013 with retrospective effect.“In 2014, US took 24 percent of total Lankan exports and within this were 43 percent of our total apparel exports to the world.
Since 2010, Lankan exports to the US have increased by 59 percent. The renewed US GSP would help our exports development efforts further,” Bathiudeen added.
Sri Lanka’s exports to the US were valued at US $ 2.7 billion in 2014—an 8 percent year-on-year growth—with apparel comprising 73 percent of the total exports with US $ 1.99 billion.
Sri Lanka exported US $ 4.7 billion worth of apparel products to all markets last year.
Apart from apparel, Sri Lanka’s other leading exports to the US in 2014 were rubber tyres, plastic-based packing materials, rubber gloves, activated carbon, coir products and rubber floor coverings.