Sri Lanka, EC exploring road map to retain EU GSP+
July 03, 2021 - Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka and the European Commission (EC) are exploring a road map to retain the European Union’s (EU) generalised scheme of preferences plus (GSP+) duty-free benefit for exports. “We will, after consulting with the Sri Lankan authorities, issue what we call a road map, which will address the concerns raised in the final report (of the investigation),” said EC ambassador in Sri Lanka Bernard Savage.
He was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association recently.
The road map, a commitment by the government to address concerns raised by the investigation, could retain the GSP+ scheme, even if the EC recommends the EU member states to suspend GSP+.
The ambassador said the government’s response to the EC investigation report will be ‘examined extremely thoroughly and seriously’. However, the EC will make a recommendation to the European Council, on whether or not to suspend the GSP+ scheme, based on its investigation findings.
After the EC recommendation, the Council will have two months to arrive at its own decision. However, if the Council decides to suspend the GSP+ scheme, the GSP+ will be suspended only six months after the decision is taken.
Apparel exporters say GSP+ has helped grow exports to the EU even during times of global downturn. This growth, say exporters, may not happen without the GSP+ behind Sri Lankan exports, the association said in a press release.
The latest export data from the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apparel industry representative body, shows that total apparel exports in September, dropped by 4.7 per cent in value, compared with September 2008. Exports to the United States fell by 19.2 per cent but exports to the EU rose by 8.5 per cent in September 2009.