Sri Lanka may lose EU trade concessions: report

Aug 02, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka may lose lucrative trade concessions to the European Union as the results of an initial investigation on human rights abuses in the country was very adverse, a media report said.

EU has banned the Tigers as terrorists but relations with the West deteriorated in the last stages of the conflict amid calls for a ceasefire and the treatment of civilians caught in the conflict. Reuters, a news agency, said a preliminary report on human rights prepared by the EU had been handed over to the Sri Lankan government.

“The report is very adverse and GSP Plus is very unlikely,” Reuters quoted S Ranugge, secretary of Sri Lanka’s export trade ministry as saying.

“If the report is favourable, you can keep hope. The reaction of the EU is not that favourable.”

The EU is expected to decide on whether or not to extend the generalized system of preferences plus (GSP+) concessions, which are vital for the export apparel industry before the end of the year.

Sri Lanka’s exports are already hit by slumping demand for exports.

The EU ambassador to Sri Lanka, Bernard Savage was quoted as saying that the report would be finalized after getting reactions from Sri Lankan autho