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Clean human rights record for apparel exports - EU
Mar '08
Recently, a delegation from European Union visited Sri Lanka and suggested an improvement in its human rights record.

The delegation demanded that Sri Lanka will have to completely comply with implementation of the obligations under international agreement, if it desires to renew trade concessions granted by the EU.

The apparel industry of Sri Lanka is more than confident that the Government would meet all the demands made by EU, since it is very crucial for the country to retain the preferential market access to the region.

The apparel and textile sector of the country fears that if access to EU market is detained, small and medium enterprises which have established factories in suburban areas generating employment will be severely hurt.

However, officials from Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association believe that the industry is already complying with all the norms and that EU will not have any trouble in allowing imports from the country under the GSP system.

Experts opine that the GSP scheme giving duty-free access to EU, has enormously helped in strengthening local industry at a time when the US, which is its biggest market, went in for a recession.

Although Sri Lanka claims its clothing industry as being free of child labor and has been making an effort to be environmentally friendly, preferential access to key markets is on stake owing to concerns over human rights.

The apparel industry which is a key source of employment and foreign exchange earnings for the Sri Lanka, is struggling with rising costs, owing to storming inflation, and stiff competition from lower cost producers. In the wake of such critical situation it is hoped that the country manages to secure its concessions and market access to the EU.

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