June 30, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will continue to receive preferential trade concessions after ‘noteworthy efforts’ were made by the state to address worker rights issue, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk has said. Sri Lanka gets duty free export rights to 5,000 odd items including tires, activated carbon, rubber gloves, plastic products, and kitchenware valued at 135 million US dollar a year under a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to the US.
The scheme came under review after trade unions petitioned the US saying there were shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s recognition of labour rights. The review has been closed with no change to benefits given to Sri Lanka, the US embassy said.
“The closure of the GSP country practice review of Sri Lanka was based on the Sri Lankan government’s noteworthy efforts to address worker rights issues over the past few years,” US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
“This welcome outcome to the review demonstrates that GSP remains an effective tool for engaging GSP beneficiary countries on worker rights.”
Sri Lanka’s export processing zones were established in the late 1970s and early 1980s without union rights which were available elsewhere in the