Written by Staff Writer
23 Mar, 2015 | 10:05 pm
Apparel exporters say the possible resumption of the GSP plus concession from the European Union would be a major boost for the sector.
Tuly Cooray, General Secretary of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, welcomed the proposal to restore the trade facility.
A high-level delegation from the European Union, reached Sri Lanka on Monday, March 23 , and are expected to hold talks with government officials on recommencing the GSP Plus trade concession.
What is the GSP plus concession and how does it affect Sri Lanka?
GSP or The EU’s “Generalized Scheme of Preferences” allows developing country exporters to pay less or no duties on their exports to the EU.
This gives them vital access to EU markets and contributes to their economic growth.
The GSP+ enhanced preferences means full removal of tariffs on essentially the same product categories as those covered by the general arrangement.
These concessions are granted to countries which ratify and implement international conventions relating to human and labour rights, environment and good governance.
The GSP Plus trade concession for Sri Lanka, primarily centered around apparel exports, and was first granted in 2005. This concession enabled Sri Lanka to compete with other exporters whose production costs were lower.
However, in February 2010, after the then government rejected the imposition of conditions by the EU in terms of human rights and constitutional reform, among others, the EU withheld the trade concession to Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, considering the fact that according to official government data, revenue from apparel exports have increased over the last five years not withstanding the absence of GSP plus; what effect will the resumption of the concession have on the apparel sector?
General Secretary of Joint Apparel Association Forum Tuly Cooray says that the GSP+ concession being offered by the Euro Commission is meant for the development of the developing economies. He added that its very important to the textile and apparel industry in Sri Lanka because the total exports to the entire world, 46% is represented in the EU market.
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