May 16, 2017

“GSP+, a real incentive to make progress towards human rights” (Video)

Ambassador for the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives - Tung-Laï Margue says that GSP + is a ‘real incentive’ to make progress towards human rights.

Meanwhile, Mr. Paul Godfrey, head of Political, Trade and Communication section of the EU delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives added, “it’s important to recognise that the present government was the first government to recognise that there was a serious problem”.

They were speaking during a press conference in Colombo today (16), where it was annouced that the EU will remove a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products entering the EU market in exchange for the country's commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment, and good governance.

The removal of duties will come into force on this Friday (May 19), the day after publication in the official Journal of the European Union which is expected this week.

If Sri Lanka continues to make the necessary progress, then the country has the chance to benefit from the scheme until it achieves Upper Middle Income country status for three consecutive years. On current trends, that should mean that Sri Lanka will benefit from GSP+ until at least 2021.

Not perfect, further concerns
Speaking further the ambassador said also said that the GSP + is not being granted to governments because they are in full compliances with international standards.

He also cited cases of torture, forced child marriage, laws discriminating sections of Sri Lankan society as several prevailing areas of serious concerns. “We also believe more efforts are needed to done in terms of true reconciliation, he said adding that these elements would be monitored closely.

Mr. Paul Godfrey also elaborated why the GSP+ was withdrawn and the criteria which led the EU to recommend Sri Lanka’s readmission to the  GSP+.