The Sri Lankan president’s office claimed the European Commission has assured its support to Colombo to “overcome” the ongoing economic crisis, and that it will make a decision on the GSP+ trade concession “very soon”, amidst calls for the benefit to be removed from Sri Lanka.
A statement released by Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, “noted that at a time of unprecedented challenges faced by the people of Sri Lanka, the European Union remains committed to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to overcome the crisis successfully, including the necessary reforms that will bring the country back to a path of inclusive prosperity and lasting national reconciliation.”
She has also reportedly made reference to the assessment by the European Union on the progress made by Sri Lanka on GSP+ commitments. The Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+), which grants Sri Lanka favourable trading terms with the EU. It is thought to be worth over $US500 million to Sri Lanka.
In 2010 Sri Lanka lost GSP+ status due to the country’s deteriorating human rights situation however in 2017, this status was restored. 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.
A report by the European Commission is due to be released later this year or early 2023.