We will be able to export any product to the European market without any export levy or duty, with the European Union’s decision to remove significant import duties on Sri Lankan products by restoring GSP + trade access to Europe’s export market, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Galle.
“Last May, I went to Brussels with a delegation to initiate discussions with the European Union. The European Union has decided to remove significant import duties on Sri Lankan products and restore GSP + trade access to Europe’s export market.Now, not only garments, we can export any product to the European market without export levy or duty,” the Prime Minister said.
“The proceeding week is going to be a very productive one.I could start the week following the opening of two new factories in Kurunrgala. Subsequently, in Kalutara we initiated another a new industry and thereafter we launched work on the new industrial zone in Hambantota,” the Prime Minister said. Next we plan to start another industrial estate at Charly Mount in Weligama Prime Minister further observed.
Premier Wickremesinghe was speaking at the ceremonial unveiling of the pinnacle of the newly erected Chetiya (Pagoda) at Sunandarama Vihara, Karapitiya in Galle.
The new pagoda was constructed with the financial contribution of environmentalist and United National Party Habaraduwa electorate Chief Organiser Chandrala Abeygunawardane.
“After the regaining of the GSP + trade access, our country will be greatly benefited. In 1977, we marked a big leap in our trade and export market. We introduced the garment industry to the country. However, we could not continue with the programme with the country plagued by terrorism. Investors were afraid to invest in our country. However, garment factories in large numbers were established in every part of the country,” the Prime Minister said.
“During my tenor as Prime Minister in 2003 and 2004 and during the period of former President chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, we were able secure the GSP + concession,” the Preier said.
“GSP+ trade access is granted to countries where democratic rights, law and order,child and woman rights and environment are well preserved and protected.But,during the past regime, all such freedoms were lost. Politicians were alleged for Women abuse and they openly admitted such offences. Environment laws were flatly neglected. Law and order was brazenly exploited. Media freedom was badly affected. Hence, we lost the GSP concession. However, following the Presidential election victory of Maitripala Sirisena and subsequent Parliamentary election, we were able to gain all such rights and freedoms which lead for the retrieval of GSP+,Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added.
“We were also able to get the European Fish Export ban in 2015. We ensure many lost democratic rights and freedoms after the establishment of the new government of Good Governance. We introduced a number of many new laws in respect of Child and Women rights and social welfare,” the Premier said.
“During the first two years of our government, we initiated talks with European countries. We could relax the severity of Geneva proposals against our country. President Maithripala Sirisena made many diplomatic tours in Europe. He met the German Chancellor, French President and British Prime Minister.I also met the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and visited Brussels.We had talks with a number of world leaders and dispel many misunderstandings about our country. Now, we have to work towards the progress of the country with a patriotic vision and attitude,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.
“By next April and May, we hope to create a new market in the country,” the Premier said.
“I urge all local entrepreneurs to invest in new ventures and display their patriotism. We need to create more job opportunities for our young generation. We will not be confined only to Hambantota in our industrialisation process.We will commence our new development in other regions of the country,” he added.
“We will introduce new vocational training strategies. While concentrating on industrialisation, we will also take steps to promote the tourism industry. The Southern Province is the best region with an airport and two sea ports for industrial promotion. We will unite and work for the economic, social and community development of the country shunning all differences in our political visions. I earnestly appeal to Ministers Vajira, Gayantha and Chandima to work collectively and cooperatively for the uplift of the region,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe reiterated.
Commenting on the meritorious act of constructing a new pagoda,the Prime Minister said that most politicians entered politics to make money at the cost of the people, while politicians who spend their hard earned money for the benefit of the public were a rare breed.
“Karapitiya is a fast booming suburb of Galle.The newly erected pagoda at the temple premises promotes religious and spiritual development.I am grateful to all those dedicated their time, energy and money for this noble meritorious deed” the Prime Minister added.
Supreeme Mahnayake of Amarapura Nikaya Ven.Davuldena Gnanissara Mahanayake Thera was the patron aged the religious ceremony. Ministers Vajira Abeywardana and Gayantha Karunathilake, Galle District Parliamentarians Wijepala Hettiarachchi and Bandulalal Bandarigoda and Environmentalist and United National Party Chief Organizer for Haabaraduwa electorate Chandrala Abeygunawardane were also present on the occasion.