Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed hope that it will be possible to get the ban imposed by the European Union (EU) on Sri Lanka’s fish exports lifted before the end of this year.
Meeting with a fishing community at Kandakuliyamune in Kalpitiya Saturday, the Prime Minister has said that the government has commenced discussions with the EU to get the ban lifted and has taken measures to meet the regulatory requirements set out by the EU.
The Prime Minister explained that the European Union has warned eight countries including Sri Lanka that breached their regulations in 2012 to rectify the shortcomings and if not they will be imposed with export bans.
Sri Lanka has also been notified but failed to demonstrate that it sufficiently implemented the EU instructions by November 2014, he explained.
The Premier said the Government had agreed to complete all 57 procedures demanded by the EU and so far 36 procedures have been completed. The Government plans to hold talks with the EU in September or October and hopes to get the ban lifted by year’s end.
The European Commission in October 2014 proposed to ban imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka, in a bid to tackle the commercial benefits stemming from illegal fishing. The ban went into effect from January 2015.
The Prime Minister has also that measures will be taken to obtain duty relief when exporting fisheries products in the near future. He also said that the Government will take measures to obtain the GSP Plus tax concession following the Geneva summit so that the country can export to European market with duty relief.
The EU withdrew the GSP Plus facility in August 2010 claiming Sri Lanka’s failure to comply with the eligibility criteria that included the implementation of international human rights conventions. (colombopage.com)