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SL to lose GSP plus for HR breaches

October 21, 2009


Sri Lanka to lose trade advantage

Sri Lanka is set to lose trade concessions worth more than $100m (€67m, £61m) after a EU probe found it in breach of the human rights commitments it had made in exchange for lower tariffs.

The EU report’s critique of Sri Lankan human rights includes charges that government security forces were complicit in recruiting child soldiers.

The country faces suspension from the the EU’s generalised system of preferences plus scheme, which gives preferential access to the bloc in exchange for commitments on social issues. That would be a blow to its garment industry, which delivers more than half the island’s exports.

Sri Lanka ‘breached’ GSP+ conditions

Sri Lanka is in breach of commitments agreed for the GSP+ trade incentive scheme, the European Commission (EC) said in a report.

The European Commission spokesperson for Trade, Lutz Guellner, said the EU concluded a thorough probe over whether Sri Lanka is living up to the commitments it made to respect international human rights standards when it became a beneficiary of the GSP+ facility.

He said: “The report comes to the conclusion that there are significant shortcomings in this area and that Sri Lanka is in breach of its GSP+ commitments”.

The European Commission will consult with the member states whether to suspend the facility on a temporary basis, he added.

Sri Lanka response

“At the same time, the Commission is determined to pursue its dialogue with Sri Lanka on the substantive human rights problems identified in the report and the steps that Sri Lanka can take to address them,” he further added.

Speaking from Brussels, he told BBC Sandeshaya that the adaptation of the report does not necessarily mean that the trade incentive will be withdrawn.

“This is not even a proposal to suspend trade benefits, this is only an assessment report. We will continue our dialogue with Sri Lanka government but also discuss here with the member states,” Mr. Guellner said.

The Sri Lanka government, responding to the report, said it will continue the dialogue with the EU. More

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