A special five-member European Union delegation is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on Monday, to review Sri Lanka’s compliance to receive the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) concession.
The European delegation will confer with stakeholders including government officials, opposition parties, industrial players and trade unions until Friday.
The EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Denis Chaibi, told Nikkei Asia, “They will meet with all stakeholders to obtain information, and verify the commitment made by the government in relation to matters pertaining to human rights, international labour conventions and the environment.”
The delegation will scrutinise Sri Lanka’s adherence to its commitments on human rights, labour laws and environmental protection, as well as enforcement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The investigation will determine whether the European trading bloc continues to provide a Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) concession on imports that have been highly favourable to Sri Lanka.
The findings during the visit are to be submitted to the European Parliament in the first half of 2022 that will help determine whether or not to suspend Sri Lanka’s trading privileges.
In 2010, the EU withdrew GSP+ privileges from Sri Lanka because of human rights violations under then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In 2017, when the previous government was in place, the EU reinstated GSP+ in return for a commitment to ratify and implement 27 international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.
The GSP+ concession slashes tariffs to zero on exports from vulnerable low and lower-middle-income countries that implement the 27 international conventions.