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Restoration of GSP plus a big boost to exports: Business Chamber of Commerce

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The Business Chamber of Commerce expresses its happiness that Sri Lanka has finally been able to regain GSP plus which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on our exports.

They join the rest of the Chambers of Commerce and all other Trade Promotion Organisations (TPO) in offering their congratulations to the Government which pursued the goal of regaining GSP plus with tenacity and demonstrated its ability to meet conditions stipulated by the EU in order to regain the facility.

It is needless to state the vital importance of entering the EU on reduced or zero rated duties. The EU which has a population of about 500 million comparatively affluent people, is a core segment of market access for local products. Such access on concessionary terms had been deprived to exporters since 2010.

Since the advent of the present administration in 2015, substantial improvements to the socio-economic fabric of this country, besides the restoration of fundamental tenets of equitable governance especially human rights have been duly recognised by the EU. But it is important to improve on the situation to inspire further confidence within the EU. In this connection the EU will examine closely whether Sri Lanka will observe about 27 international covenants it had agreed to observe.

7,500 products are entitled to GSP plus among which are 1,200 local products. It is necessary for all stakeholders to make a united effort to derive the maximum advantage from GSP plus. It is expected that garments will be able to generate additional export income reaching $ 500 million. The export oriented small and medium sector which is basically involved in subcontracting would also benefit from GSP plus.

Fisheries is another key sector that stands to gain. Though the process involved in fish exports is complex, this could be overcome in the future so as to capitalise on the zero duty facility to be afforded to this sector as well. There are several other sectors too like leather, ceramics, gems, and jewellery besides D/C which could substantially gain.

What is however required is a collaborative and a coordinated endeavour in which all exporters could achieve maximum benefits and add momentum to our exports to the EU.

A principal role in this connection needs to be played by the key state agencies – the Department of Commerce and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board together with our diplomats and trade officials based in the EU.

They are confident that Sri Lanka will reach new heights in the field of exports which is likely to impact on the economy in the foreseeable future.


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