Counter Measures

Dec 04, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is aware of a campaign to block the renewal of trade concessions for apparel exports into the European Union and the government is taking counter measures, a minister said. “Human rights is just a football in that whole game.” “We’re very well aware of the campaign and the government is very well prepared,” Minister of Export Development and International Trade G L Peiris said.

The GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus scheme gives Sri Lankan exporters get duty free access to EU markets.

Sri Lankan apparel exports to the EU have been growing because of the preferential access while those to the US, its biggest market, have faltered in the face of cheaper competition from China.

The GSP Plus scheme ends in 2008 and a decision to extend it by three years to 2011 is to be taken in January.

Exporters are concerned that they might lose market share if the lobby succeeds in blocking the extension of the scheme.

Peiris was asked at an exporters forum on Monday whether the lobby, which is backed by Tamil Tigers, could threaten Sri Lankan clothing exports, a mainstay of the economy.

“We’ll counter this adequately. There’s no need to worry undul