Written by Keshala Dias
27 Apr, 2017 | 10:23 pm
The resolution that was tabled at the EU Parliament against granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka was defeated in a vote on April 27.
436 members of the EU Parliament have voted against the resolution while 119 have voted in favour, 22 MEPs have abstained.
Speaking to News1st from Brussels, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva said that the EU Council of Ministers will hold a discussion regarding the granting of GSP on May 15.
The Deputy Minister added that he hopes the decision reached by the EU Parliament would be enacted soon.
[quote]”GSP+ to me has largely been a political decision. It has both political and economic. Economically speaking GSP+ could ease some of the current… as you know SL exports are struggling. we are not cost competitive, demand forms our main markets in Europe and US is declining so it could cushion some of these negative impacts”, said Subhashini Abeysinghe Director Research – Verité Research.[/quote]
The GSP+ is a tax concession granted by the European Union to developing countries which allows full removal of tariffs on every product category covered by the general scheme.
Sri Lanka received the GSP+ tax concession in the year 2005 for three years after the Tsunami struck the island in 2004.
To continue granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka, the EU decided to evaluate the countries progress in terms of 27 conventions with regard to human rights, labour rights, environmental conservation and good governance.
With the previous government not supporting the EU, granting of GSP+ to Sri Lanka was stopped from August 15, 2010.
When the new government came into power in January 2015, several steps were taken to ensure that the country receives the concessions back.
On January 11, 2017, the European Commission proposed increased market access to Sri Lanka as a reform incentive under GSP+.
It was revealed at the Cabinet media briefing on April 26, that the government has approved ‘certain’ conditions laid out by the European Union and that the documents pertaining to the changes has been sent to Brussels before the vote.
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