Sri Lanka apparel exporters win time in GSP deal

Dec 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan apparel exporters say a temporary extension of a scheme giving duty free access to European markets provides time to recover lost orders, cut costs and ensure compliance with its eligibility criteria.

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Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association chairman Kumar Mirchandani said industry and government should use the respite given by last week’s extension of the GSP Plus trade scheme to work on getting it extended for a full three years.

The European Commission last week listed Sri Lanka among 16 developing countries to which it has renewed the GSP Plus benefit from January 2009 to December 2011 but subject to the eventual outcome of an eligibility review.

The scheme was scheduled to expire in December 2008.

“At least it gives us some clarity on timing in the worst case scenario,” Mirchandani said.
“If the GSP Plus is withdrawn we have a time frame with which to work. The review will take about 10 months. So we have window of opportunity.”

The GSP Plus trade benefit allows duty free exports to European Union countries and it is important for Sri Lanka’s apparel export