Colombo, Jan 16 (NIA) – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said the country had lost high export earnings due to the withdrawal of the GSP plus trade concessions during the previous regime.
Wickremesinghe said without the GSP plus trade concessions, the island country earned 2500 million dollars from the export of ready made garments while countries such as Bangladesh earned 5200 million US dollars.
In 2015, although Sri Lanka’s apparel exports earned 4800 million US dollars, Bangladesh, who had obtained the GSP plus concessions, earned over 26,600 million US dollars in the same year, the Prime Minister said.
“Due to losing the GSP plus concession, we only managed to increase our revenue from 2500 million US dollars to 4800 million US dollars, not even a two fold increase,” Wickremesinghe said.
The GSP plus trade concessions were withdrawn from Sri Lanka in 2010 by the European Union due to violations of human-rights agreements under the previous Mahinda Rajapakse regime.
The suspension resulted in Sri Lankan exporters losing duty free access to EU markets and their shipments being charged an import duty.
However after successful discussions between the EU and the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, the European Commission announced last week that it had proposed to the European Union to remove significant import duties on Sri Lankan products, to restore GSP Plus
trade access to Europe’s export market.
The European Parliament and the Council have now up to four months to raise potential objections before the measures become effective, a statement from Brussels said.