EU pledges impartial GSP+ review
Lanka reaffirms commitment to 27 Int'l Conventions:
COLOMBO: The European Union yesterday stressed that no pre-decision
has been taken on Lanka's GSP Plus status and the assessment process
will be fair and impartial.
Joao Aguiar Machado, Deputy Director General for External Relations
of the European Commission told a news briefing in Colombo that they
encouraged Sri Lanka to take all the necessary steps to ensure its
compliance so GSP+ can continue to bring benefits to the country.
"We encouraged the Government to submit its outstanding reports to
the relevant monitoring bodies as soon as possible," he said.
He said the Government updated the EU delegation on progress in
preparing its application for GSP+. "We explained the criteria that need
to be fulfilled to be eligible to the GSP+ regime, namely the
ratification and effective implementation of the 27 international
The Commission is working out the eligibility criteria and
requirements for countries to apply for the GSP+ scheme and the relevant
regulations are expected to be issued shortly. Once the regulation is
issued, interested countries may submit their applications to the
Commission before the deadline of October 31, 2008.
At the 17th session of the Sri Lanka - EC Joint Commission which
concluded in Colombo, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona stated that
Sri Lanka has fully complied with all 27 conventions on human rights,
labour, governance and the environment, which are required to qualify
for the GSP+ facility.
Kohona also thanked the EU for granting this preferential tariff
facility, which has also contributed to the diversification of Sri
Lanka's export production base, particularly in expanding exports of
bicycles, rubber products, fruits and vegetables, foliage plants and
seafood to the vast EU market.
Machado noted advances made since the visit of the EU Troika in March
2008, such as beginnings of the democratic process in the East.
"We expressed our hope that the situation in the East can be further
stabilised." "Our development and humanitarian aid was discussed.
The Government welcomed our past aid and our continued support as one
of Sri Lanka's most constant and supportive donors.
We reviewed progress on implementing our 148 million Euro of tsunami
assistance, including the reconstruction of 160 kilometres of the road
from Matara to Batticaloa with our partners the Roads Development
Authority and ADB, our building 400 kilometres of road within Ampara, of
building 3,000 houses and so forth.
We discussed the continued substantial support that we are providing
to Sri Lanka, including the further 70 million Euro this year," he told
the news briefing.
The European Commission (EC) has also reiterated its unconditional
support for Sri Lanka's sovereignty and its firm opposition to
It has also strongly condemned LTTE terrorism in the island.