Sri Lanka turns down EU probe on GSP
The Sri Lankan government has rejected an EU investigation as a precursor to continuing GSP+ concessions to local industry including garments, a government minister said on Monday.
International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told reporters that concessions to local industry will be provided if GSP+ is not available next year
He said the government would provide a rescue package of US$150 million to all export industries that receive GSP+ concessions to overcome the loss of the GSP+ benefit.
The modalities of the rescue package will be finalized after holding discussions with garment and other exporters next Tuesday. Minister Peiris said the government will not allow the EU to conduct an investigation on several matters including the recruitment child soldiers and human rights in order to review the granting of this facility.
He said the cabinet last week decided that it will oppose the EU’s action to infringe on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, self respect and dignity. This message was conveyed to Brussels through the Sri Lankan envoy there, he said. However Mr Peiris said that the government has already sent an application to the EU seeking an extension of the facility and they are awaiting a reply soon. He added that this is the first time that EU has insisted on an investigation of this nature and it is unrealistic. Some 65% of total exports to the EU under the GSP+ scheme are made up of garments with the balance 35% coming from emerging sectors like agriculture, fisheries and footwear.
The EU has said it wants to ascertain whether Colombo has fulfilled labour and human rights conventions as prescribed in the rules governing trade concessions.