Sri Lanka will get GSP+ by end of the year - PM
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the government has fulfilled one of its election promises of lifting the EU ban on fisheries exports from Sri Lanka and that the other pledge to get back GSP+ would also be realized by the end of the year. He was speaking at a special press briefing held at the PM’s Office in Colombo today (17) regarding the European Union lifting the ban on exports of fisheries from Sri Lanka. The EU’s official decision yesterday was the result of continuous work carried out by the incumbent government which had promised to get the ban lifted during the election campaign of President Maithripala Sirisena, he said. The Prime Minister read the following excerpts from the outcome of yesterday’s council meeting of the European Council held in Luxembourg: “Sri Lanka removed from the list of third countries not cooperating in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.” “The Council adopted amendments to implementing decision 2014/170/EU establishing a list of non EU countries not cooperating in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.” “The amended decision concerns the removal of Sri Lanka from that list in view of Sri Lanka’s improved compliance with international obligations in this field, its introduction of a more efficient control and monitoring system, and its assurance with regard to implementing the catch certification scheme.” He stated that Sri Lanka’s fisheries industry can now resume exports and that this would help bring in more money for local fishermen. “A right which had been lost has now been given back,” he said, while express gratitude to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amraweera, former Minister Joseph Michael Perera, fish exporters, the Secretary to the Fisheries Ministry and its officials for their part in helping to lift the ban. He stated that the Foreign Affairs Minister and Fisheries Minster are now holding discussions with the Norwegian government with regard to modernizing the country’s fisheries industry. Wickremesinghe stated that during the election campaign of Maithripala Sirisena they had also promised to get back GSP+ for Sri Lanka. He stated that unofficial discussions are currently underway with the European Union with regard to what needs to be included into the draft of the trade arraignment and it would be completed within another one or two weeks.