Sri Lanka’s new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year: Harsha de Silva

Apr 30, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new administration is confident about retrieving the GSP plus trade concessions by mid or late next year, Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of policy planning and economic development said.

“We are trying to get GSP plus back and I am very happy to report to you that we had very productive discussions in Brussels and with the EU (European Union) political leadership,” De Silva said on Wednesday.

“By late this year or early next year we hope to get the ball rolling in this regard and by mid or end of next year we are very confident of getting the GSP plus back,”

“These are the concessions that our exporters have been waiting for a long time.”

GSP Plus is a system granting tax free entry for the counties goods to the European Union market.

The EU 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’s concerns on human rights were highlighted in a report on Sri Lanka’s eligibility for GSP Plus in October 2009.

Bilateral trade between EU and Sri Lanka stood at 5.07 billion US dollar in 2014, increasing by 3.6 percent from 2013’s 4.9 billion US dollars, data from Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka showed.

About 69 per cent of the EU-Lanka trade in 2014 were Lankan exports to EU.