Apr 01, 2015 (LBO) – The European Union is seriously reevaluating the island’s request to grant the GSP plus concession for exports to the EU and to lift the restrictions imposed on export of fish products, European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka, David Daly has said.
Daly has also expressed deep appreciation over the new government’s policies on improving human rights and strengthening democratic institutions in the Island.
Sri Lanka is in the push to retrieval of GSP Plus, a system granting tax free entry for the counties goods to the EU market.
Daly has explained that the legal processes were slow as the EU has to go through a rigorous evaluation process before taking the final decision.
However, he acknowledged that the strong political weight thrown by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe on these issues would be useful to speed up the process.
He said a team of senior EU officials visited Sri Lanka for trade discussions and another team would shortly visit for joint committee meetings.
The EU has decided to withdraw the GSP deal in August 2010 saying Sri Lanka had not complied with the eligibility criteria, such as implementing international human rights conventions, a charge Sri Lanka’s past regime has rejected.
The EU concerns on human rights were highlighted in a report on Sri Lanka’s eligibility for GSP Plus in October 2009.
Apparels, Sri Lanka’s top most merchandise export earner, has increased by 9.4 percent to 4,929.9 million US dollars in 2014 compared to 4,508.3 million US dollars in 2013.
However it has decreased 0.6 percent to 451.1 million US dollars in the month of December 2014 compared to the same period last year.
Exports of apparel to the EU was 2,189.7 million US dollars in 2014 compared to 1,979.6 million US dollars a year earlier, cumulative data by Sri Lanka apparel exporters association showed.
President Sirisena was quoted saying, the cooperation between the EU and Sri Lanka would be strengthened in the coming years, although there were certain shortcomings affecting the relations in the recent past.
Ambassador Daly said a high-level delegation from the EU arrived in Sri Lanka last week for discussions with the government on the GSP plus trade concessions.