Sri Lanka not given conditions for GSP renewal, says EU

[ LBO ] - [ May 07, 2010 09:26 GMT ]

The European Union office in Sri Lanka said the EU had not given the island's government a 'list of conditions' to meet to renew a trade deal nor was it dependant on 'any single measure'.

The EU office said in a statement a government delegation will visit EU headquarters in Brussels during May 20-21 for talks on renewing the GSP Plus trade deal that gives Sri Lankan exporters duty free access to European markets. The EU has decided to withdraw the GSP deal in August saying Sri Lanka had not complied with the eligibility criteria, such as implementing international human rights conventions, a charge Sri Lanka's government has rejected.

The EU concerns on human rights were highlighted in a report on Sri Lanka's eligibility for GSP Plus in October 2009.

"The discussions foreseen in Brussels will address issues highlighted in the European Commission's final report on Sri Lanka's eligibility for GSP Plus issued in October 2009," the EU office statement said.

"The Delegation of the European Union would like to underline that no list of conditions has been communicated to the government," the statement said.

"The Delegation emphasises that any review of the European Commission's recommendations on GSP Plus is not dependent on any single measure."

The EU statement also said that "the Delegation wishes to underline the EU's respect for the judicial process of Sri Lanka and has no position on any ongoing court case in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka to send team for talks on GSP trade deal

Sri Lanka is to dispatch a team of officials to Brussels later this month to try to extend a key European Union trade deal that is to be withdrawn on human rights concerns, an official said.

Foreign Minister Gamini Peiris told parliament the team for talks on May 20-21 will be headed by Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera and include the top bureaucrats of the foreign and justice ministries. The move comes after the island's parliament on Wednesday voted to scale back tough state of emergency laws that were first introduced 27 years ago to deal with the Tamil Tiger separatists.

The war ended last May with the Tigers being crushed.

The GSP Plus benefits are to end in August after a European Union decision to suspend the trade deal giving duty free access to European markets on concerns over alleged human rights abuses during the war.