Sri Lanka-EU talks on trade deal positive: EU envoy

May 19, 2010 (LBO) – The European Union is likely to remain a lucrative market for Sri Lankan exporters with talks to extend a trade deal giving duty free access to Europe being positive, the EU envoy said. EU ambassador Bernard Savage said talks between Sri Lanka and the EU on extending the GSP Plus trade deal would resume in Brussels this week.

“The European Union, I hope, I’m convinced, will continue to be a very lucrative market for Sri Lanka, generating profits and of course jobs not just this year, not just in the past, but very much in the future.”

The EU on February 15 decided to suspend the GSP Plus trade deal, citing denial of human rights to Sri Lankan citizens the state has agreed to grant in international covenants.

The suspension, which comes into effect on August 15, has cast doubts about the competitiveness of the apparel industry, which is already affected by lower orders from recession-hit Western markets.

Apparel exporters need duty free access to Europe to compete against cheaper exporters from other countries and thousands of jobs are at stake if the GSP Plus concession is lost.

Double Whammy

This week the Euro was battered to four year lows against

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