European Union Delegation warns Sri Lanka over prolonged import ban

Nov 19, 2020 (LBO) – The current import restrictions are having a negative impact on Sri Lankan and European businesses, and on Foreign Direct Investment, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) said.

Issuing a statement, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) and the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Romania reminded Sri Lanka that the Trade is not a one-way street.

“Such measures impair Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub and negatively impact Sri Lankan exports by constraining the import of raw material and machinery,” the statement said.

“We recall that a prolonged import ban is not in line with World Trade Organisation regulations.”

The delegation added that Sri Lanka’s withdrawal of support for the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 remains a source of concern.

“The Government has stated its continuing commitment, including to the EU, to fostering reconciliation, justice, and peaceful coexistence among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities,” the statement stressed.

“The EU stands ready to support the Government’s efforts in this area. The rule of law and a vibrant civil society are essential in this regard.”

The Delegation of the European Union further stated that they are looking forward to continuing their deep engagement with Sri Lanka, in line with their shared international commitments and obligations.

As COVID-19 continues to bring a number of challenges, the Colombo-based Heads of Missions representing the European Union and its Member States, held a series of high-level meetings, including with Foreign Minister Gunawardena.

They underlined the EU’s long-standing support for Sri Lanka as a reliable partner, including through over 1 billion EUR of grants over the last 25 years, notwithstanding the Member States’ bilateral assistance.

Thanks to the EU’s special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), Sri Lanka enjoys competitive, predominantly duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, based on the continued implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour, environment, climate change and good governance.

The EU is the second biggest export market for Sri Lanka worldwide, with a positive trade balance of more than 1 billion EUR (about 220 billion LKR) in 2018 and 2019.

Related: Sri Lanka to receive same benefits of EU GSP+ for UK from 2021