Sri Lanka reapplies for key trade

Sri Lanka reapplies for key trade concession from EU

Colombo, June 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka has formally reapplied for the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) plus trade concession from the European Union (EU), an official said on Friday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said Sri Lanka hopes Britain will remain in the EU as almost 40 per cent of Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU is to British markets, Xinhua news agency reported.

“If Britain is not a part of the EU, we will lose the duty free benefit. If Britain remains in the union, then we could renegotiate a FTA with them, but they will have to do a whole series of FTAs with European nations and others before they get to us. That will certainly take a long time,” he said.

Sri Lanka lost the EU GSP plus when the former government was in office for failing to meet several conditions related to human rights.

The new government, which took office last year, gave a commitment to meet the expectations from the EU and implemented some legal amendments in order to regain GSP plus.

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