Financial Times

War not affecting GSP+ prospects

By Dilshani Samaraweera

The Ministry of Export Development says the ongoing war in the North will not adversely affect the outcome of the EU’s GSP+ investigation.

“There has been no formal communication from the EC (European Commission), regarding the war situation in the country, and the GSP+ scheme. So there is no reason to think the war situation will impact the investigation. The investigation is about the effective implementation of three international conventions. So, as far as we are aware, they are continuing with their evaluation on the implementation of these three conventions,” said the Secretary to the Ministry of Export Development and International Trade, S Ranugge.

The GSP+ trade scheme allows Sri Lanka to export nearly 7,000 items duty free to the EU.
The biggest beneficiary so far, has been the local garment export sector that has been using the GSP+ to hold on to market share in the EU, despite the global downturn. The current investigation by the EC is looking into the implementation of three out of 27 international conventions, that are pre-requisites to qualify for the GSP+ scheme.

These conventions are, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Government officials say concerns about the implementation of the three conventions have already been addressed.

The outcome of the EC’s investigation will decide whether Sri Lanka will continue to benefit from the GSP+ scheme until end-2011. The investigations are expected to continue until end of this year and during the period of investigation Sri Lanka will be able to use the GSP+ scheme. Even if the findings are negative, Sri Lanka will be allowed a 6-month ‘notice period’ before the GSP+ is discontinued. .

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