ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Export Forum, an industry body representing exporters said they were hopeful of an extension to duty free trade acesss to the European Union following a meeting with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“We were pleased to learn that the Foreign Ministry will continue to engage with the EU both on the Joint Commission and the Monitoring Mechanism of the EU GSP plus regime, while a sincere and committed effort is also being made to directly address all of their concerns,” JAAF Secretary General Tuli Cooray said in a statement.
“Based on the progress we are seeing, we are hopeful that a continuation of GSP plus can be secured.”
The group had met State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage and other officials.
The meeting “focused on the importance of GSP+ to the apparel industry, and the wider economy, as well progress on reforms and related discussions aimed at securing the facility,” JAAF said.
The EU had extended GSP+ trade access to Sri Lanka on the expectation of improving rule of law and civil liberties under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the country is a signatory.
The EU had raised concerns over an anti-Terror law. Critics have also raised concerns over the selective implementation of ICCPR provisions against minorities in Sri Lanka.
Within the EU, in countries such as Hungary where nationalists have influence over the polity, there have been concerns over freedoms ensured for citizens under the ICCPR. (Colombo/Jul19/2021)