No impact on Lanka’s GSP+ status - JAAF SG | Sunday Observer
EU delegation’s visit

No impact on Lanka’s GSP+ status - JAAF SG

19 September, 2021

There would be no negative impact by the EU delegation’s visit this month on Sri Lanka’s GSP+ status, Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Tuli Cooray told the Sunday Observer Business on Friday.

It was only a regular visit on how Sri Lanka has responded to the trade facility and the conditions to benefit from the concessions, Cooray said, adding that Sri Lanka will continue to benefit from the special trade facility up to 2023.

However, he said that the extension of the trade facility at the next cycle commencing from 2023 would depend on how Sri Lanka responds to the EU conventions.

A GSP+ monitoring mission will arrive in Sri Lanka on September 27 and the visit will coincide with the regular high-level dialogue between the Government and the European Union on governance, rule of law and human rights, Chargé d’affaires, EU Delegation in Colombo, Thorsten Bargfrede said.

A senior official for the EU delegation to Sri Lanka when contacted last for the current status of the review of the trade concession to Sri Lanka said the GSP+ monitoring for Sri Lanka is at an advanced stage.

According to the official, the EU was at an advanced stage in the GSP+ monitoring cycle for the years 2020-2021 by early last month.

The GSP+ concessions were reinstated for Sri Lanka in 2017 on the commitment to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.

The status effectively removes import duties on goods from Sri Lanka entering the EU. A recent resolution by the European Parliament urged the EU Commission to consider a temporary withdrawal of the GSP+ status offered to Sri Lanka putting the spotlight back on Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

The trade concession enables Sri Lanka to export more to the EU, boost trade and create more and better jobs for people.

The EU is Sri Lanka’s second-largest trading partner after China and its second main export destination, absorbing 22.4% of Sri Lankan exports in 2020.

In 2020, Sri Lanka was the EU’s 69th largest trading partner in goods accounting for 0.1% of EU trade.

Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU are dominated by textiles and clothing, accounting for 52.3% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to the EU in 2020.

EU27 imports from Sri Lanka have been constantly increasing since 2016 reaching €2 083 million in 2020.

Products exported to the EU fall under a total of 42 HS chapters which have a GSP plus utilisation of over 75%. These varied industries have been contributing to the diversification of the country’s export basket which in itself is one of the objectives of the EU GSP plus program.

These include a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises, which would be severely impacted by the loss of GSP plus and consequent increase in duties levied against Sri Lankan exports.