The Sri Lankan government is in the process of preparing the initial paperwork to re-apply for the EU’s GSP Plus trade concession that was withdrawn from the country in August 2010 due to non-compliance with the conditions connected to the facility, the General Secretary of the Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees’ Union (FTZ&GSEU) Anton Marcus says the government first needs to formulate a proper road map in order to regain that facility.
It was also reported that discussions were underway to re-apply for the GSP Plus facility at the External Affairs Ministry consultative meeting in parliament recently.
Despite SL government 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. It is further noted that over 200 garment factories had closed down due to their inability to be competitive.
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 tone down its arrogant attitude and re-think its stance on the EU’s trade concession.