The United Kingdom has assured Sri Lanka will continue to enjoy EU GSP+ benefit from 2021 post-Brexit, the Export Development Board said in a statement.
It said since the UK was the main market for Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it was important for Sri Lanka to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post-Brexit period.
Exports to UK in the first 10 months of 2020 amounted to $ 766.72 million and rose by 39% to $ 102.5 million in October as per provisional data.
The EDB said once the transition period ended on 31 December this year, the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) would replace the EU's Common External Tariff – which would apply until 31 December 2020 – and UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (UK GSP) would apply from January 2021.
“The Department of International Trade of the UK has announced that EU-GSP eligible countries will be able to get the same tariff preferences they were entitled to earlier through the UK GSP from 1 January 2021,” the EDB said.
Being a EU-GSP-plus beneficiary country, Sri Lanka will continue to be eligible to receive the same preferential benefits under EU GSP+ for the UK as per its proposed Enhanced Framework replicating EU GSP plus. The proposed Enhanced Framework of the UK replicating EU-GSP Plus criteria is expected to be enforced on 1 January 2021 for a three-year-period from 2021 to 2023.
Further to the information received by the Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK, the current EU GSP Rules of Origin criteria will be applicable till 31 December 2023 and the exemptions of the EU-GSP Rules i.e. bilateral/regional/cross-regional and extended cumulation will be available in a different terminology. A beneficiary country intending to apply for extended or cross regional cumulation has the option to submit a joint application to the UK authority once the Enhanced Framework is enforced.
With regard to the proof of origin of exported goods, the Registered Exporters System (REX system), which is in use at present, will be discontinued from 31 December 2020. However, a similar self –declaration form or a Certificate of Origin (COC) Form A will be introduced by the UK authority. More details and guidelines on the COC will be issued shortly by the UK authorities.
During the three-year-period (2021-2023), the UK will review the eligibility criteria, rules of origin criteria and guidelines to develop its bespoke preferential scheme. The stakeholders too will be consulted in this process.