Tough Luck

The special labour-rights based duty cuts for Sri Lankan exports into the European Union will hold until end 2005, but renewal of concessions will be much harder. The special labour-rights based duty cuts for Sri Lankan exports into the European Union will hold until end 2005, but renewal of concessions will be much harder.

According to the Commerce Department, Sri Lanka is already reaping the benefits of the special trade incentives from the EU based on its high labour standards.

The concessions saw duty reductions double on major categories of exports into the EU.

“We have not got any statistics yet because the scheme started only this February but judging by the interest from local companies, exports are sure to have increased,” said Deputy Director General of Commerce, Sonali Wijeratne.

But like all good things, the duty cuts come with an expiry date – end 2005 and with no guarantee of renewal.

Sri Lanka will face an EU delegation next year to talk about how it can hang on to the duty reductions.

“There will be a review next year on continuing concessions after end 2005,” said Roshan Lyman, Economic and Trade Advisor, delegation