President Maithripala Sirisena says Sri Lanka will regain the Generalized System of Preferences Plus or GSP+ trade concession that was suspended during the tenure of the United People’s Freedom Alliance led government in a week.
Speaking at an event in Dodangwala, Kandy today the Head of State said the current government has overcome all obstacles faced when developing the country.
President Sirisena said during a short time frame the government eliminated obstacles faced when building the country adding the international community is now considered a friend.
The Head of State noted that he has been informed that the GSP+ trade concession, that is vital to the development especially for industries and international trade ties, will be restored within a week.
The GSP plus trade concessions were withdrawn from Sri Lanka after the United People’s Freedom Alliance led government failed to meet certain conditions on human rights issues in 2010.
EU’s GSP+ tariff concession allowed Sri Lanka to sell over 7,000 products to EU countries tax-free with the garment industry benefitting the most. However the EU citing Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations suspended the GSP+ tariff concession.
The present government submitted the formal application to regain the GSP trade concession to European Union officials in June last year.
In October last year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with the European Commission, European Union and the European Parliament on renegotiating the GSP Plus agreement in Belgium. The Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels helped Sri Lanka to progress on the matter. The EU following discussions with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe issued a communiqué stating it has decided to consider the application by the Sri Lankan government.
In November 2016, the European Union said it will announce its decision on granting Sri Lanka the Generalised System of Preferences Plus or GPS+ by the 12th of May 2017.
A four member European Parliament delegation also arrived in the island to look into the progress made by Sri Lanka to grant the General System of Preferences Plus Trade concession.