May 12, 2016 (LBO) - Sri Lanka’s government and the EU said the island’s GSP application was discussed at the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation which met on 11 May 2016 in Brussels. The meeting was co-chaired by Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of Commerce, for Sri Lanka and Peter Berz, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate General for Trade, for the EU, a joint statement said. “The Working Group discussed issues related to bilateral trade and investment and possible means for their promotion in a mutual beneficial manner.” “In particular it discussed Sri Lanka's intention in applying for GSP+ status under the European Union's GSP Regulation.” The statement said the meeting “took positive note of the fact that Sri Lanka had made significant progress” in addressing outstanding issues towards launching an application. These were especially relating to the rule of law, democracy, governance and the overall situation pertaining to human and labour rights and environmental protection. The EU is expected to take up to six months to give a response after a formal application for GSP +, and Sri Lanka is currently preparing the application. They welcomed that as a result of Sri Lanka's successful reform of its fisheries governance system, the Commission has proposed to Council on 21 April 2016 the lifting of the import ban related to illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, it added. They also discussed bilateral matters and noted progress related to investment dialogue, customs valuation and exports of fruits and vegetables from Sri Lanka to the EU. The EU and Sri Lanka also reviewed the results and work ahead after the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi and expressed their hope that the Trade Facilitation Agreement would enter into force as soon as possible, while noting action already taken by Sri Lanka to ratify the agreement.