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Sri Lanka will not ask EU for GSP facility: Govt official
Jul '13
The Government of Sri Lanka will not ask the EU for Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility as the country’s macro challenges have changed, according to a Government official.
Asking for export concessions would only leave the country as a subsistence economy, said Mr. PB Jayasundara, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning, while addressing a Forum on ‘Government Strategy for Industrial Development of Sri Lanka’ in Colombo.
Mr. Jayasundara said the biggest obstacle to Sri Lanka’s economic development was the war, which is now over. He said in the post-conflict era, the biggest beneficiary is the private sector.
He said the challenges for the industry have changed and today the new challenges are hike in wage rates, workers’ unrest and lack of availability of workers.
He urged industrialists present at the Forum to export good quality products and make Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia.
Talking about export strategies, the Secretary said exports need not always be aimed at lucrative markets only, and said Sri Lanka needs to deepen economic ties with both India and Pakistan, as these markets provide unlimited potential.
He asked Sri Lankan industrialists to take a long-term view while selecting products for manufacturing, rather than a stop-and-go method, which would lead the country to become an assembly plant.
In August 2010, the EU suspended its GSP+ privileges to Sri Lanka, citing the South Asian country’s failure to meet human rights conventions that are needed for continuation of the benefits under the scheme.
The GSP+ status provided tax free access for Sri Lankan products, especially garments, to the European market. 
Sri Lanka exported textiles and apparels worth US$ 3.8 billion last year and the country has set a target of achieving US$ 4.1 billion in textiles and garment exports this year.

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