COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka is confident of regaining the GSP Plus trade deal giving duty free access to the European Union which would help exporters, a top trade official said.
R.D.S. Kumararatne, Director General, Department of Commerce, said the new government was acting to meet EU conditions required to regain the trade concession and that recent talks had indicated the EU was favourably inclined.
"They were very optimistic of the possibility of Sri Lanka regaining GSP Plus provided we meet the conditions," he told a forum organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
"Now with the new government’s constitutional amendments we have a bigger chance to regain it."
Talks will continue Thursday with a meeting of the Sri Lanka-EU joint commission in Colombo.
"The advantage for exporters of regaining GSP Plus is that whatever products that are dutiable now, will go under zero duty to EU and also you are not subject to ‘product graduation’," he told the forum of exporters.
Under the normal GSP scheme when a product exceeds 15 percent of total imports into the EU the product graduates out of the concession, known as ‘product graduation’.
That rule is not applicable for products shipped under GSP Plus, giving an extra benefit to exporters.
Kumararatne also said the GSP is a unilateral scheme granted by the EU and not reciprocal like other trade deals.
The EU withdraw the GSP Plus scheme from Sri Lanka in 2010 owing to human rights concerns, saying the country was not complying with its obligations under international human rights conventions and good governance norms.