Seafood exporters upbeat about GSP plus

It was not only the seafood exporters who were affected due to the  removal of GSP+. It also had a negative impact on the people in many  sectors of the industry from fishermen, boat owners to helpers.
It was not only the seafood exporters who were affected due to the removal of GSP+. It also had a negative impact on the people in many sectors of the industry from fishermen, boat owners to helpers.

The Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (SEASL) welcomed the EU’s decision to restore the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) concessions for Sri Lanka.

The Council of Ministers of the European Union (Foreign and Trade Ministers) formally approved Sri Lanka’s GSP+ application last week, thereby making it official, that the country will regain the coveted trade concession

The Association said in a statement last week that its industry suffered significantly over the past several years since the removal of GSP plus in 2010 due to Lanka’s poor human rights record.

“We lost our market share to competitors such as the Maldives, Vietnam and Indonesia. It was not only the seafood exporters who were affected due to the removal of GSP Plus; it also had a negative impact on the people in many sectors of the industry from fishermen, boat owners to helpers.

“Today, we are confident that we can re-start our exports to the EU and increase volumes gradually, to bring in valuable foreign exchange,” the exporters said in a statement. In 2010, Sri Lanka was known as the one of the biggest tuna exporters to the EU.

After the lifting of the EU fishery ban on Sri Lanka last year, GSP+ was the next major achievement for the industry. Sri Lanka became eligible to apply for this facility after the EU ban was lifted. The Government spearheaded by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe worked tirelessly on the application process, they said. While commending the government’s efforts, SEASL said, “This opportunity will be a game changer in the region’s fish exports.” GSP+ will pave the way for increased exports with zero duty access and will help to realize the dream of the Government to achieve USD 1.5 billion from seafood exports within the next four years. 

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