Sri Lanka sends high level delegation to EU on GSP+

Mar 10, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is sending a high level delegation of senior government officials to save a preferential trade deal which is due end later in 2010 and broader relations with the European Union, a senior minister said. “On our part we are eager to engage with the international community,” international trade minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris told reporters.

“We are sending a high level delegation to Brussels on March 15. Sri Lanka is reaching out. We expect the other side to reciprocate.”

In February the EU said its Generalised System of Preferences Plus trade concessions which give duty free access to a range of Sri Lankan goods will end in six months over alleged human rights abuses of Sri Lankan citizens by the state.

An EU probe identified shortcomings in respect of three UN human rights conventions — the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The EU had wanted enabling legislation passed to comply with ICCPR.

Peiris said finance ministry secretary P B Jayasundera, foreign ministry secretary Romesh Jayasinghe, justice ministry secretary Suhada Gamlath and attorney general Mohan Peiris will