Sri Lanka to get Euro300mn benefit from GSP+; rights to be monitored
ECONOMYENXT – Sri Lanka will get a 300 million Euro benefit from duty-free access a year when GSP+ free trade benefits are restored this month, but the EU will continue to monitor progress on rights, officials said.
Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue said Sri Lanka had an opportunity to draw investors to set up factories to export new goods to the EU with a tax-free entry.
Sri Lanka should also explore new countries in the EU to export products. In addition to the South, he hoped the benefits will flow to people in the war-torn areas of the north. Fisheries export is one of the areas that can immediately benefit people in the region, he said.
EU officials said the current administration had shown a willingness to implement conventions signed by the country, but much more needed to be done. Torture was still being used and children were being forced into marriages.
A review will take place in January 2018, where progress will be monitored.
Sri Lanka failed a review and GSP+ was withdrawn after the ousted Rajapaksa regime refused to give freedoms to citizens, amid a breakdown in rule of law and justice.
EU officials said ‘yellow flags’ had been shown to other countries as well and they had usually shown a willingness to correct them.
GSP+ had only been withdrawn from Sri Lanka so far.
Sri Lanka will only get GSP+ until the country remains in a lower-middle income country.
If Sri Lanka moves up to higher-income status, it may lose the benefits in 2021 or 2023, according to Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue.
However, analyst say Sri Lanka seems to be embarking on a path to currency depreciation and poverty generation seen in the 1980s, and the country will remain poor and people may migrate seeking higher-paying jobs, until a policy of sound money is restored.
Freedom activits say British liberals brought universal franchises to Sri Lanka and ended slavery amid only mild objection from the then-leaders. In 1885, a sound money system was also installed. (Colombo/May17/2017)