Sri Lankan economy will benefit from new trade deals to be signed with India, China and the European Union, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. He was speaking on the occasion of the Council of the European Union approving lifting of a ban on fisheries exports from Sri Lanka.
The EU had banned Sri Lankan fishing exports from January 2015 due to irregular fishing practices. “With the ending of the ban by the EU, there will be more money coming to the hands of fishermen,” Wickremesinghe told reporters. The Prime Minister said his government was in the process of finalising a draft application to get back GSP+ preferred tariff concessions for Sri Lankan exports to the EU. GSP+ is “special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance” which is one of three non-reciprocal, preferential import regimes for developing countries under the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The prime minister said in about two weeks the government expect to formally submit the application to the EU. “With the GSP+ fishermen will get more benefits. Exporters of apparel, tea will also get more access to the EU,” he said. The GSP+ facility was suspended in 2010 for the want of ratifying labour rights and covenant on civil and political rights. Wickremesinghe said the Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) trade pact with India will be in effect by next year and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China will also be inked soon.