The Sri Lankan government is to re-apply for the EU GSP Plus trade concession that was withdrawn from the country in August 2010 for the non-compliance of the conditions connected to the facility.

Despite Sri Lankan claims in 2010 that the loss of the GSP Plus facility would not have a severe impact on the country’s economy, the EU’s decision to withdraw the facility was estimated to cost the government US$ 1.5 billion.

The continuous closure of industrial factories and the increase in the unemployment rate due to the loss of the GSP Plus facility has now forced the government to re-think its stance on the EU’s trade concession.

The SL government is currently engaged in preparing the initial paperwork related to the re-application for the GSP Plus facility.

The necessary documents are being prepared by the Commerce Department and are to be handed over to the EU Commission in June 2014.

EU Commission’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Bernard Savage when contacted by the Sunday Leader said that he was unaware of the government’s decision to re-apply for the GSP Plus facility.

However, he said that EU would look at the conditions that were previously not met by the relevant applicant when considering the request.

The EU’s decision to withdraw the GSP Plus facility from Sri Lanka in 2010 was based on the government’s failure to show improvement in three main areas such as the application of international conventions agreed to by Sri Lanka on civil rights, labour rights and children’s rights.

Meanwhile, the loss of the GSP Plus facility that was granted by the EU to Sri Lanka is continuing to result in the closure of factories in the country making thousands jobless.

It was earlier reported that two such factories had closed down on January 2 since they are shifting their businesses to Bangladesh, a country that enjoys the GSP Plus facility.

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