Sri Lanka has moved one step closer to re-introducing the GSP Plus scheme for exporters after starting talks with EU delegates, ahead of the human rights commissioner’s visit next month.
]Countries must comply with 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environmental action and good governance to qualify for the GSP plus.
Deputy Head, European Commission’s GSP and Sustainable Development Unit, Nikos Zaimis stated that the purpose of the scheme is actually to help countries recognise their shortcomings
“No country is perfect not even in the EU,” he said and added that it will be Utopian to expect things to happen all in one day, and all before the GSP Plus is granted.
Deputy Head Nikos Zaimis in regard to the application process in obtaining the GSP Plus concession stated that it will take about six months and the European Commission, the President of the Commission and the College of Commissioners will take a decision.This decision of the commission then has to be reviewed by the two other institutions of the EU which is the Council of Ministers which is the ministers of the 28 governments of the EU and of course the other institution which is the European Parliament
” So they have the final say on the application by the beneficiary in which case is Sri Lanka,” he said
The Institute of Policy Studies Executive Director, Saman Kelegama noted that the apparel section is the most important from all the exports to the European Union and they account for 46% of the apparel exports, 43% goes to the USA and 11% to others
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Harsha De Silva stated that this is the biggest issue that needs to be solved and therefore, is absolutely committed to ensure that the needful is done to regain GSP plus.
He added that the bigger issue is how the resolution will be implemented and when the high commissioner comes next month he will corroborate the information that has been given to the delegation yesterday, and hopefully thereafter the formal application can be created.