ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is confident of regaining the GSP+ trade deal giving duty free access to the European market in May and under no obligation to foreigners in getting the concession, only its own people, a minister said.
“Things are moving very well. We are on track,” Harsha De Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said.
“Sri Lanka will do what we have undertaken to do and we re doing what we are doing for ourselves,” he told a forum on the European Union GSP+ trade concession.
“We’re under no obligation to any foreign body. We are only under obligation to the people of this country and what we are doing is for the people of this country.
“Be under no illusion we’re forced by anybody – we’re only forced by the people of this country,” De Silva told the forum for exporters held by European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka in partnership with the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Shippers Academy.
“We’ve had some roadblocks, difficulties,” De Silva added. “We may be going sideways but those are detours that are required.
“This government follows the law, so we’re do things the way they ought to be done.
Sometimes people protest and governments shoot at people who protest but it’s not happening now.”
The new government had done what it promised to do and restored democracy, freedom and equality, and the freedom Sri Lankan people enjoy is what the EU gives its own people, De Silva said.
“The government is not deterred (by opposition protests) but sometimes we’re ‘detoured’ towards achieving our aims by these protests.
“If some people say we don’t need GSP+, we have a culture to protect, let them tell us how we can do without it,” De Silva said. “If we don’t export we are dead.”
Sri Lanka needs trade deals to increase exports.
“If we don’t expand the market where are we going to export to? We have only four trade agreements of which only one is active.”
(COLOMBO, March 02, 2017)