Sri Lanka GSP Plus benefit seen short-lived

ECONOMYNEXT – The GSP Plus trade benefit giving Sri Lanka duty free access to the European Union will be available only for a few years and exporters should be ready to sell without it, an official said.

Indira Malwatta, chairperson of the Export Development Board (EDB), said the export promotion agency has developed a strategy for export development in the aftermath of GSP Plus.

“The GSP Plus is not a panacea for all illnesses – for us it provides breathing space and is not a comfort zone,” she told a business forum held by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) and the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“We must use this opportunity in the shortest possible time. By 2024 Sri Lanka is expected to graduate out of GSP Plus.”

The island’s per capita income is now US$3,800 and this is projected to rise to $4,306 by 2021, giving Sri Lanka upper middle income status and not eligible for the GSP Plus trade benefit.
“The EDB strategy for the next 2-3 years is to support exporters so they can be on their own when we are no longer eligible for GSP Plus,” Malwatta said.
(COLOMBO, July 24, 2017)

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