GSP+ approved by EU Trade, Foreign Ministers

The European Council has approved the Generalized System of Preferences Plus or the GSP+ tariff concession allowing Sri Lanka to export products tax-free to the European market.

The Foreign Affairs Council at a meeting yesterday agreed to grant additional trade preferences to Sri Lanka.

The Council said on this basis, Sri Lanka has become eligible to receive additional tariff preferences for sustainable development and good governance, in addition to the generalized scheme of tariff preferences benefitting to all developing countries.

The Government Information Department issuing a statement said this completes all three procedural requirements for Sri Lanka to receive GSP+ status following the European Commission and Parliament approval prior.

The Department said the official notification on the entry into force will be finalised next week.

Granting the GSP+ facility, the Council said Sri Lanka has ratified and implemented measures contained in a number of international conventions on human and labour rights, environment protection and good governance.

The European Parliament last month voted to approve granting the GSP+ tariff concession to Sri Lanka again.

The 751-member European Parliament’s vote followed the European Commission’s recommendation in January that GSP+ should be granted to Sri Lanka once again after withdrawing it in 2010 due to the poor human rights record of the country.

The government applied for GSP+ in July 2016 and the Commission’s assessment has concluded that it met the GSP+ entry criteria set out in the EU Regulation.

The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports.

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