Sri Lanka trade concessions to be reviewed: US

July 01, 2010 (LBO) – The United States will review trade concessions granted to Sri Lanka under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) affecting 116 million US dollars of goods exported by the island, the US embassy in Colombo said.

Other criteria included measures against child labour, and occupational safety and health, work hours, minimum wages and working conditions.

There is likely to be a public hearing in August to discuss worker rights issues raised in the petition and the government would be invited to participate, the embassy said.

“Acceptance of the petition is not a decision to revoke GSP nor does it set a deadline for a decision on action on GSP privileges,” the statement said.

“It is the beginning of a formal, collaborative process to work with the Sri Lankan government to address the concerns in the petition and work to improve support of and adherence to worker rights.

“GSP privileges will continue throughout the process.”

The US says it has a “strong working relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka on labor issues,” and it has recently sponsored a labour program administered through the International Labour Organization.

In August Sri Lanka is due to lose trade preferences