Apr 20, 2017

Regaining GSP+ hangs in the balance Featured

PM Tusk 670px 17 04 20
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with EU Council chairman Donald Tusk (file photo)

A group of European Union MPs has written to prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, urging him to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with global standard counter-terrorism legislation in order for Sri Lanka to regain the GSP plus export concession.

Sri Lanka must address issues related to shortcomings in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, and children’s rights as well, according to their letter dated April 07.

No response yet from PM

The Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives has tweeted that the letter was yet to be responded to.

Sri Lanka has less than four weeks to satisfy the European Parliament and the Council of its readiness to implement its GSP+ commitments, it goes onto say.

State minister Niroshan Perera has told BBC Sandeshaya that he believed the PM could have received the letter in question.

He said the government was in the process of implementing the agreements reached during its talks with the EU.

EU delegation’s tweet

Very complex issue

He said the government would have to discuss the ‘very complex issue’ of a removal of the PTA with relevant local parties, and said it would be difficult to act quickly as expected by the EU.

Asked if Sri Lanka would be able to meet the EU’s May 15 deadline, he said the government was coordinating with the EU in that regard.

The deputy minister noted however that president Maithripala Sirisena’s stand was that gay relationships went against Sri Lanka’s culture and lifestyle and the related should not be removed, as wanted by the EU.

The EU MPs have asked the EU to inform them in December in the event the GSP+ is given without Sri Lanka’s having fulfilled the conditions.