The government’s current import restrictions in place are having a negative impact on Sri Lankan and European businesses, and on Foreign Direct Investment, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) said.
Issuing a statement together with the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Romania, the EU said that such measures impair Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub and negatively impact Sri Lankan exports by constraining the import of raw material and machinery.
“We recall that a prolonged import ban is not in line with World Trade Organisation regulations,” the statement said. Furthermore, the statement added that the Sri Lankan government’s decision to withdraw its support of the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 remains a source of concern. It highlighted the government’s commitment, including to the EU, to fostering reconciliation, justice and peaceful coexistence among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities. The EU said it stands ready to support the Government’s efforts in this area.
As the EU is a crucial economic partner for the island nation owing to the EU’s special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), Sri Lanka enjoys competitive, predominantly duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, based on the continued implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour, environment, climate change and good governance, the EU stressed. “Not least due to these unilateral trade preferences, the EU is the second-biggest export market for Sri Lanka worldwide, with a positive trade balance of more than 1 billion EUR (about 220 billion LKR) in 2018 and 2019,” the statement said.
“We are looking forward to continuing our deep engagement with Sri Lanka, in line with our shared international commitments and obligations,” the EU added.