European Commission proposes 4-year extension of GSP+ scheme for Sri Lanka

Thursday, 20 July 2023 03:34 –      – 408

The European Commission has suggested a four-year extension to the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) for Sri Lanka amid ongoing negotiations for the EU’s new GSP+ arrangement. Recognising the significance of the GSP+ scheme for Sri Lankan exporters, the European Union (EU) delegation in Sri Lanka emphasised its importance as one of the country’s largest trading partners.

With nearly EUR 3.2 billion worth of Sri Lankan exports to the European Union in 2022 alone, the EU recognises the value of the GSP+ scheme in facilitating trade between the two parties. As negotiations for the new GSP+ arrangement are still in progress, the European Commission proposed extending the current scheme for an additional four years, till 31 December 2027, to ensure that countries like Sri Lanka do not lose their preferential access to the EU market during this interim period.

The EU delegation, taking to Twitter, stated that the proposed extension means that, for now, nothing changes for Sri Lanka. The country will continue to benefit from the same level of access to the European Union’s market, along with the obligation to comply with the 27 international conventions that are integral to ensuring a robust and sustainable economic recovery. The EU delegation emphasised the importance of a recovery that is not only rapid but also fair, just, and environmentally conscious.

The GSP+ scheme provides favourable trade preferences to eligible developing countries, offering tariff reductions or exemptions to boost their exports. It serves as an important tool in promoting economic growth and development in beneficiary countries. For Sri Lanka, the extension of the GSP+ scheme by four years presents an opportunity for continued access to the European Union’s market on favourable terms, contributing to the country’s export-driven economy.

The proposed extension demonstrates the EU’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and fostering a mutually beneficial trade relationship. It underscores the EU’s recognition of Sri Lanka’s importance as a trading partner and reflects the EU’s efforts to promote inclusive and sustainable trade practices.

As negotiations for the new GSP+ arrangement continue, both the EU and Sri Lanka will work towards ensuring that the final agreement takes into account the interests and priorities of all stakeholders. The EU’s proposed extension provides a level of certainty for Sri Lankan exporters, enabling them to plan and strategise their trade activities in the European market.

 

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