The European Commission has proposed the granting of trade concessions to Sri Lanka under the GSP+ scheme, in exchange for the government’s “commitment” on human rights and labour conditions.
The restoration of GSP+, which was stripped during the previous Sri Lankan government’s rule, would mean the government benefits from the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines, including in industries such as textiles and fisheries. The move has been proposed alongside “rigorous monitoring” by the European Commission.
A press release this morning said the commissioned would restore the trade concessions “in exchange for the country's commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance”.
European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said restoration of the GSP+ "reflects the way in which we want to support Sri Lanka in implementing human rights, rule of law and good governance reforms”.
“I am confident of seeing timely and substantial further progress in these areas and the GSP+ dialogue and monitoring features will support this reform process,” she added. “This should include making Sri Lankan counter-terrorism legislation fully compatible with international human rights conventions."
The granting of the trade tariffs has been opposed by human rights groups and by trade labour groups such as the Clean Clothes Campaign, IndustriAll Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation, due to Sri Lanka’s failure to deal with both human rights issues and the International Labour Organisation’s core conventions.
See the full text of the press release here.