Sri Lanka’s EU GSP benefits could to be renewed: trade law expert

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Sept 1, 2008 (LBO) – The European Union (EU) could renew Sri Lanka’s GSP+ trade concessions but then put pressure on the government to improve its human rights record, a US trade law expert said Monday.

Access to European markets is also important at a time when exports to the US are slowing down.

“I’d be very, very surprised if you’re denied GSP Plus,” Kennedy said. “But you will have to effectively implement all these conventions in these areas.”

The EU will “grant GSP Plus and then the carrot and stick will start,” he said. “They’ll say ‘if you want to continue to get GSP Plus you need to do better in this area or that area’.”

Kennedy also said the EU “has been very smart” about monitoring Sri Lanka’s implementation of the international conventions.

“They are not going to be the judge of implementation but it will be an oversight body established under these conventions, such as the United Nations human rights convention,” he said.

Sri Lanka maintains it has ratified the international conventions but the EU has said more effective implementation is required given concerns over disappearances and attacks on the media.

Kennedy said there was a debate about what impl