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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says Sri Lanka will begin receiving the GSP+ tax concession once the National Human Rights Framework is implemented in the country.

The Prime Minister made these comments speaking at an event held in Galle today.

The Premier said this country was filled with only textile factories adding that he tried to develop this market specially from 2003 to 2005, when he was prime minister the EU came into an agreement that any item can be sold within the EU and to receive the GSP+ grant.

The Premier said GSP+ it is granted for two reasons if the environment is protected, if women and children are protected, if the law is implemented and democracy is upheld adding that they carried this out but due to bad luck it was banned.

Premier Wickremesinghe added that firstly the country’s fishing exports were suspended and however the current government was able to regain that concession in 2015 adding that he held necessary discussions and it was possible for us to have the ban lifted.

The Premier said later a team inclusive of him went to Brussels and held final discussions adding that the last step towards this was taken last week.

Premier Wickremesinghe added that now all that left to be done is to bring in the National Human rights framework and implement it.

The government says the absence of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences or GSP+ tax concession resulted in Sri Lanka’s economy to incur losses of 375 million rupees.

Issuing a statement, the Government Information Department said the GSP+ was completely removed from Sri Lanka in 2010 after the tax concession was limited to the country in 2007 due to the activities of the previous tenure of the United People’s Freedom Alliance led government.

The statement said the one-way trade preference would consist of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines. Accordingly, trade barriers imposed on Sri Lanka’s export industries including textiles, fisheries and rubber production will be completely removed.

The European Commission yesterday proposed to grant Sri Lanka the GSP+ tax concession by considering several factors including the establishment of good governance, the implementation of the 19th Constitutional amendment and the strengthening human rights.

The proposal will be ratified following the approval by the European Council and the European Parliament.

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