EU puts 15 conditions to extend GSP+ trade concession to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 June 2010, 11:11 GMT]
The abrogation of Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the release of those detained held under the Emergency Regulations (ER) and the implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution are among the fifteen conditions put forward by the European Union (EU) as a pre-requisite for the further extension of the GSP+ trade concessions to Sri Lanka from August this year. However, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who addressed cabinet meeting held Wednesday is reported to have rejected these conditions stating that he would not compromise the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan state for the sake of USD 150 million.

Mr. Rajapaksa said all these were internal political matters and had no relevance whatsoever to international trade.

Denmark and Spain took a rigid stand against Sri Lanka while Italy supported the country on this issue at the EU.

Even Germany was very flexible, according to Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris.

Peiris explained to the ministers about the conditions laid down by the EU and added that it had agreed to extend GSP+ trade facility, but made it mandatory for the government to adhere to 15 demands within a stipulated period of six months.

He said constitutional amendments would be necessary if these conditions were to be implemented and added that it was impossible to do so within six months and as such there was no need to pursue further negotiations on the GSP+ facility with anyone.

G.L. Peiris stressed the need for Sri Lanka to explore 'new market opportunities' overseas.

 

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