Sri Lanka govt says preventing rupee appreciation to help exporters

Aug 20, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government is preventing the further appreciation of the rupee against the dollar to support exporters after the loss of a trade deal giving duty free access to the European market, a spokesman said. “We held a number of discussions with manufacturers. After 10 years of tariff preferences we should be able to compete in the open market. If not we should look back and see where we’ve gone wrong.” Media minister Keheliya Rambukkwelle said the government remained firm in its resolve not to link the extension of the GSP Plus trade deal given by the European Union to alleged human rights abuses.

The deal ended this week after the EU refused to extend it citing concern over human rights abuses in the ethnic war which ended in May 2009.

The Sri Lankan government has rejected charges of human rights abuses and also rejected EU conditions to extend the deal, saying they were not related to labour matters.

“The criteria changed to a situation with no relation to labour activity,” Rambukkwelle said.

“As a sovereign government we simply can’t accept it – we can’t let someone outside dictate terms to us.”

Rambukkwelle said the government will use its foreign exchange reserves to prevent