Dec 11, 2008 (LBO) – The European Commission has listed Sri Lanka among countries to which it is extending from next year the GSP Plus duty free trade deal but subject to the eventual outcome of an eligibility probe. Trade experts said the listing, which had earlier been expected only by December 15, means Sri Lankan exporters will continue to enjoy duty free access to European Union markets under GSP Plus till next October.
An EC statement said the GSP Plus list for 2009-2011 covers 13 current GSP Plus beneficiaries including Sri Lanka and three new countries; Armenia, Azerbaijan and Paraguay.
“Accordingly, GSP Plus preferences are granted to those countries from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011.”
But the statement also qualified the extensions given to Sri Lanka and El Salvador both of which are being investigated by the EU to see whether they qualify and meet the criteria required to continue to enjoy the duty free benefits.
“With regard to Sri Lanka and El Salvador the fulfilment of the GSP+ eligibility is currently subject of pending investigations initiated by the Commission,” it said.
“Specifically, in respect to Sri Lanka, the Commission’s investigation will establish whether the na