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EC proposes enhanced market access for Sri Lanka
16
Jan '17
The European Commission (EC) has proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.
 
“These one-way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66 per cent of tariff lines, covering a wide array of products including textiles,” the Commission said in a statement.
 
These preferences would come under a special arrangement of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences, known as GSP+. The arrangement is designed to support developing countries by fostering their economic development through increased trade with Europe and providing incentives to take tangible measures towards sustainable development.
 
The European Parliament and the Council have now up to four months to raise potential objections before the measures become effective.
 
“GSP+ preferences can make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development by increasing exports to the EU market. But this also reflects the way in which we want to support Sri Lanka in implementing human rights, rule of law and good governance reforms,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
 
GSP+ scheme offers the incentive of increased trade access in return for further progress towards the full implementation of 27 international conventions, and provides a platform for engagement with beneficiaries on all problematic areas. As is the case for all GSP+ countries, the removal of customs duties for Sri Lanka would be accompanied with rigorous monitoring of the country’s progress in the area of sustainable development, human rights and good governance.
 
Sri Lanka had already benefited from GSP+ in the past. In 2010, the EU stopped the preferential treatment for Sri Lankan imports due to the failure to address reported human rights violations in the country. In 2015, the new government of Sri Lanka set out a path of major reforms aiming for national reconciliation, respect of human rights, the rule of law and good governance principles, as well as sustainable economic development. The Sri Lankan government applied for GSP+ in July 2016 and the Commission’s assessment has concluded that it met the GSP+ entry criteria set out in the EU Regulation.
 
The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. In 2015, total bilateral trade amounted to €4.7 billion. EU imports from Sri Lanka amounted to €2.6 billion and consisted mainly of textiles as well as rubber products and machinery.
 
There are currently 8 GSP+ beneficiaries: Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay and the Philippines. (RKS)
 

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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