(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The European Union has announced that it has decided to extend the GSP Plus facility for Sri Lanka to 2023. Meanwhile, the ambassadors of the countries of the European Union expressed their interest in investing in Sri Lanka and asked Industrial Export, Investment Promotion and Civil Aviation Minister Prasasnna Ranatunga to explore the possibility of recommencing Sri Lankan flights to European countries.
The statement concerning the granting of GSP facility was made by the Head of Political, Trade and Communications Section of the Embassy of the European Union and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union to the Maldives, Thorsten Bargfrede.
It came during a meeting held between ambassadors of the countries of the European Union and Export Investment Promotion Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasasnna Ranatunga at the latter’s ministry, the ministry sources told the Daily News yesterday.
The EU’s GSP removes import duties from products entering the EU market by developing countries helping them to alleviate poverty and create jobs based on international values and principles, including labor and human rights.
“The apparel industry, which is worth USD 5 billion in exports to the country, which is 43% of the total exports to the world, will benefit significantly from GSP+,” said Industrial Export Investment Promotion Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasasnna Ranatunga.
The Minister thanked ambassadors from the countries of the European Union for their extended support to the apparel industry in Sri Lanka at this meeting, sources said.
Minister Ranatunga also told EU ambassadors that the ministry has already begun to make the requisite moves to recommence Sri Lankan flights to European countries.
EU Deputy Head of Mission, Thorsten Bargfrede, said that while the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will be active for Sri Lanka until 2023 for sustainable development and good governance, EU monitoring activities will remain the same.
The Commission publishes a report on the implementation of GSP every two years on the progress made by the GSP+ beneficiary countries in implementing 27 international conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance. This monitoring includes exchanges of information, dialogue and visits and involves various stakeholders, including civil society, according to EU sources.
Ministry Secretary Mapa Pathirana, Tourism and Aviation Ministry Secretary Marina Mohamed participated in the discussions held with the EU ambassadors.