Sri Lankan president seeks to win back EU relief on garment exports
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena visits Germany on Monday, seeking political support in a fight to reinstate a trade concession for garment exports, the government said, after the European Union abolished the measure six years ago.
With annual exports of around $5 billion, the Sri Lankan industry produces garments for some of the world’s most popular brands, such as Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and Marks and Spencer.
The tax waiver, known as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus, had helped boost Sri Lanka’s garment exports, before it was withdrawn over the previous administration’s failure to tackle human rights concerns stemming from a civil war that ended in 2009.
Sirisena, who took office last year, has pledged an impartial investigation into alleged atrocities in the final stages of the war with Tamil separatists, in line with a United Nations resolution.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said Sirisena would try to win backing for the effort to reinstate the trade concession during his trip to Germany, which also includes a visit to neighboring Austria.
“We will be calling for the Germans’ help, trying to get the European Union to accept that,” the minister said.
Sri Lanka’s garment industry estimates the trade concession helped it save $500 million each year.
Latest Headlines in Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka President appoints Deshabandu Tennakoon as acting IGP November 29, 2023
- Creditor nations likely to agree on Sri Lanka debt restructuring – report November 29, 2023
- Netherlands returns six looted colonial-era artefacts to Sri Lanka November 29, 2023
- Sri Lanka needs $100 billion to become net zero emitter by 2040, president says November 29, 2023
- 40 Government hospitals in Sri Lanka closed and another 100 about to close November 28, 2023