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Sri Lanka to apply for EU GSP+; industry warned not to depend on concessions

May 23, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's government said it was pressing ahead with applying for trade concessions from the European Union in October but warned industrialists not to depend on trade concessions. Rajapaksa warned last month that if the trade concessions are lost the private sector should improve productivity and "face the challenge."

Industry officials said his recent comments might indicate the government was hinting it might not be able to get the EU to renew the trade benefits.

This week Sri Lanka lost its bid to retain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council following lobbying and criticism by human rights organisations and western governments over its human rights record. A government statement said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met members of the Joint Apparel Associations Forum, an apparel industry body Thursday to brief them of government efforts to extend the GSP+ trade benefits.

The government was preparing written submission to be made to Brussels before October 31.

Sri Lanka is seeking to extend the concessions from the EU for a further period of three years from 2009 to 2012.

But the industry fears the trade benefits might not be renewed owning to conc

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