Sri Lanka GSP trade deal dropped from EU resolution

Oct 23, 2009 (LBO) – A European Parliament resolution that was critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights record dropped a reference to the GSP Plus trade deal giving duty free access to the island’s exports to European Union markets. “The government must respect human rights in the conduct of trials of (Tamil Tiger) members,” said the resolution.

The Sri Lankan government must cease its repression of the media in the name of its anti-terrorist legislation, which must be overhauled, and press freedom must be recognised, the MEPs said. The future of the GSP deal is in doubt after a European Commission report earlier in the week said Sri Lanka was in breach of commitments on human rights required to be eligible for the trade concession.

Fears about the loss of the GSP deal has caused concern among Sri Lankan exporters and was also a reason given for the sharp fall in stock prices this week.

But a European Parliament resolution adopted Thursday only said “Sri Lanka’s economic recovery will depend greatly on foreign direct investment and also on continued EU support”.

The island’s is recovering after ending a 30-year ethnic war with the defeat by government forces of Tamil Tiger separatists in May.

The Members of