Releasing a joint statement today Delegation of the European Union (EU) and the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Romania said they had held a series of high-level meetings, including with Foreign Minister Gunawardena recently. The delegation said it had raised concerns about the import ban of certain items to Sri Lanka.
“Thanks to the EU’s special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), Sri Lanka enjoys competitive, predominantly duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, based on the continued implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour, environment, climate change and good governance. Not least due to these unilateral trade preferences, the EU is the second biggest export market for Sri Lanka worldwide, with a positive trade balance of more than 1 billion EUR (about 220 billion LKR) in 2018 and 2019.” the release said.
“Trade, however, is not a one-way street” the release noted adding that current import restrictions are having a negative impact on Sri Lankan and European businesses, and on Foreign Direct Investment.
“Such measures impair Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub and negatively impact Sri Lankan exports by constraining the import of raw material and machinery. We recall that a prolonged import ban is not in line with World Trade Organisation regulations.” it added.
The delegation also raised concerns about Sri Lanka’s withdrawal of support for the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1. “The Government has stated its continuing commitment, including to the EU, to foster reconciliation, justice and peaceful coexistence among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities. The EU stands ready to support the Government’s efforts in this area. The rule of law and a vibrant civil society are essential in this regard.” the release further said.