[Apparel workers in Sri Lanka]
The EU and Sri Lanka have begun the formal process that may lead to the re-admission of Sri Lanka to the status of GSP+ under the European Union’s new GSP regulation.
A joint statement by Sri Lanka and the EU said that the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation met in Colombo yesterday. The meeting, held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere, was co-chaired by R.D.S. Kumararatne, Director General of Commerce, for Sri Lanka and Marc Vanheukelen, Director, European Commission Directorate General for Trade, for the EU.25MAR1
Sri Lanka and the EU discussed issues related to promoting bilateral trade and investment. In particular they started the process that may lead to the re-admission of Sri Lanka to the status of GSP+ under the European Union’s new GSP regulation. They also discussed bilateral matters related to investment facilities, import duties and fishery exports from Sri Lanka to the EU.
The EU and Sri Lanka also reviewed progress in the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations and expressed their hope that the Trade Facilitation Agreement would enter into force at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2015.
Sri Lanka’s proposal for possible funding in the areas of trade-related capacity building & development support for SMEs’ trade competitiveness in regional & EU markets under EU’s Regional Programming for Asia Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 is being favorably considered by the European Union.”
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, bilateral trade between EU and Sri Lanka exceeded the $5 Bn mark in 2014 for the first time at $5.07 Bn, increasing by 3.6% from 2013’s $4.9 Bn. 69% of 2014 EU-Lanka trade were Lankan exports to EU. Apparel was the biggest export item in 2014 at $2.16 Bn growing by 10.5% (YoY), second biggest ‘rubber tyres & tubes’ at $208 Mn and third biggest (interestingly) was ‘frozen fish’ at $90 Mn. (Colombo Gazette)