Following a meeting with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Export Forum, an industry group representing exporters, expressed optimism that duty-free trade access to the European Union will be extended.
According to JAAF, it is “hopeful that the continuation of GSP plus may be ensured.” The delegation met with Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage, and other officials. According to JAAF, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry would continue to work with the EU on the Joint Commission and the Monitoring Mechanism of the EU GSP Plus system.
According to JAAF, the meeting “focused on the relevance of GSP+ to the clothing sector and the wider economy, as well as progress on reforms and associated talks aimed at securing the facility.”
The EU granted Sri Lanka GSP+ trade access with the hope of enhancing rule of law and civil freedoms under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is a signatory.
The EU has expressed reservations over an anti-terrorism bill.
Critics have also expressed worry about Sri Lanka’s discriminatory application of ICCPR rules against minorities.
Concerns have been raised inside the EU about the liberties guaranteed to people by the ICCPR in countries such as Hungary, where nationalists have political power.