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Sri Lanka firms keen to meet international standards: EU

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lankan firms are keen to meet international standards to comply with with the General System of Preferences (GSP) Plus requirements, although concerns remain, an European Union (EU) monitoring report said.

“Exporting industries, for instance in… Sri Lanka are keen to meet international standards,” the EU said.

“This is a direct result of (European) buyers insisting on responsible supply chains, and has a broader impact on the countries.”

Sri Lanka’s duty free status to the EU under GSP Plus was resumed in 2017, dependent on the country’s commitment to meet 27 international conventions.

The EU said all GSP Plus beneficiaries have progressed on the implementation of the conventions.

A countrywide survey in Sri Lanka has found just 1 percent of children engaging in child labour, due to the prevelance of child labour free zones.

The EU however, raised concerns over Sri Lanka’s plans to end a moratorium on the death penalty.

“Still, the picture is not only bleak: for instance, during a recent GSP plus mission, government officials in Sri Lanka were confident that the de facto moratorium would stand,” the report said.

There are also concerns over the freedom of association in Sri Lanka, the EU said.

Sri Lanka exported 1.37 billion euros to the EU under GSP plus in 2018 which was 49.5 percent of total exports to the region during the year.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries were Sri Lanka’s fisheries and apparel industries.

Sri Lanka would lose its GSP Plus status in 2023, if it continues to remain an upper middle income country. (Colombo/Feb12/2020)

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