GSP+ : Task force set up to boost trade | Sunday Observer

GSP+ : Task force set up to boost trade

The Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry has set up a task force to boost GSP Plus utilisation and regularly monitor its progress.

The team is chaired by Advisor to the Ministry, Anushka Wijesinha. Measures have been taken in collaboration with the Board of Investment (BOI), the Export Development Board (EDB) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) to increase GSP Plus utilisation under the initiative.

New promotional materials and brochures have been developed to guide domestic and foreign firms. Steps to reduce the unfavourable sanitary and phytosanitary notifications from the EU have been identified, and work has commenced with the Plant Quarantine Service.

The team is also working on responding to red alerts received by authorities, such as Ministry of Health, Department of Animal Production and Tea Board to ensure timely remedial action is taken.

Meanwhile, the apparel sector, which accounts for over 60% of our exports to the EU, has a serious difficulty in complying with the GSP Plus Rules of Origin due to the so-called ‘double transformation requirement’.

This has been the main cause for a lower level of utilisation of GSP+ in the apparels sector. To overcome this drawback at least to some extent, the DOC and the JAAF have been working on the Cross-regional Cumulation (with Indonesia) and Extended-Cumulation (with South Korea) facilities. While Sri Lanka and Indonesia have made a joint submission to the European Commission on Cross-regional cumulation, there has been a considerable delay on the part of the EC in granting its approval.

“We request the EU delegation’s support for an early and favourable outcome on this.

It will be of considerable benefit to our apparel industry, which, as you know has important inclusive growth dimensions, both in terms of geographical coverage across the country and in terms of women empowerment. Our apparel industry is ethical, green, and clean, and we seek more attention to support this industry,” a ministry official said.