UK assures existing GSP+ tariffs will continue post-Brexit

Saturday, 19 January 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Britain to set up trade preference team to implement new system in three tiers to provide same rates as EU
  • Says UK will remain a key economic partner in the world 
  • Calls on local entrepreneurs to proactively engage with policymakers to take local economy forward 



By Charumini de Silva

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris on Thursday assured local exporters the UK would extend the same preferential tariff rates to countries which were currently beneficiaries of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union to ensure there would be minimal impact to their exports post-Brexit.

Delivering the keynote address at the 24th Annual General Meeting of the National Chamber of Exporters, he highlighted some of the key issues related to international trade and Britain’s ambitions post-Brexit outlook as well as responsibilities of local exporters and business leaders in charting Sri Lanka’s future growth.

“There are a lot of queries related to Brexit. Day one after the exit from the European Union (EU) we will set up a trade preference team to introduce preferential market access to developing countries under the EU GSP scheme to minimise business disruption,” he assured the export fraternity of Sri Lanka. He said this intended system of the UK would be implemented in three tiers and rates would be set at the same rates as the EU, while also noting that they would remain open, encouraging and friendly towards investors and businesses from around the world including Sri Lanka even after leaving the EU. 

He affirmed that the UK, after Brexit, would have in place a system of tariffs which would extend the same preferential tariff rates to countries which were currently beneficiaries of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) including Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner said the UK was confident of continuing its growth post-Brexit, which has also been acknowledged by the EU. “The UK is an outward-looking, engaging and key partner in economic development in the world,” he added.

Referring to the world’s fast-changing economic landscape and challenges related to international trade, the High Commissioner pointed out that countries needed to be more cautious in the face of these profound new developments. 

“There are significant changes taking place in the world economy. China’s growth in the past few years has been remarkable and according to research studies, it shows that it will take over the world’s biggest economy, which is the US, by 2030. Experts also predict that by 2050 China and India put together will be equal to all the G7 economies. Power always follows money, so you must not underestimate the profound impact of all these activities,” he warned.

The High Commissioner also called on local entrepreneurs, exporters and business leaders to actively voice their concerns to direct the country’s growth trajectory in the right direction through collective engagement.

“While the Government will set out the regulations and fiscal management at macro level, as entrepreneurs and business leaders you all have an active and a responsible role to play to navigate Sri Lanka to be one of the prosperous economies. Focus on innovation and higher customer services, collectively call on the Government to simplify process of doing business, liberalise labour laws and have outward-looking polices. The voice of business leaders matters,” he insisted.