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EU uses GSP+ scheme as a political tool in Sri Lanka

The European Commission has suggested that the current GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus) scheme be extended by 04 years, amidst the ongoing negotiations for the EU’s new GSP+ arrangement.

Taking to Twitter, the Delegation of European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka has mentioned that as one of Sri Lanka’s largest trading partners with nearly EUR 3.2 billion worth of Sri Lankan exports to the European Union in 2022 alone, it recognises the importance of GSP+ scheme for Sri Lankan exporters.

Accordingly, the European Commission has proposed a 4-year extension to the current scheme to be in effect until 31 Dec 2027.

“As negotiations for our new GSP+ arrangement are still ongoing between the EU’s co-legislators, the European Commission has proposed a 4-year extension to the current scheme until 31 Dec 2027 so that countries like Sri Lanka don’t lose their preferential access in the interim”, the EU delegation tweeted.

Furthermore, the EU delegation noted that for Sri Lanka, the GSP+ extension proposal means that, for now, nothing changes, and that it will provide the same access to European Union’s market and the same obligation to comply with the 27 international conventions, which are key to ensuring that the country’s economic recovery is “not just fast, but also fair, just, and green.”

In 2010 Sri Lanka lost GSP+ status due to the country’s deteriorating human rights situation however in 2017, this status was restored after regime changed in Sri Lanka. Last year, EU parliament passed a resolution on Sri Lanka expressing “serious concern at the rapid deterioration of human rights” and calling on the European Council to consider suspending preferential trading under the GSP+ agreement. But after Ranil became Sri Lankan president, the status was restored again.

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