he start of negotiations between the Sri Lankan delegation in Brussels and representatives from the European Commission on the reintroduction of the GSP+ has been promising, according to Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Professor G. L. Peiris.
Explaining the European Commission s stand on the matter Professor Peiris said, The position of the Commission is that they would like to work with Sri Lanka to identify the measures that need to be taken to ensure that the GSP+ benefits are not withdrawn at the end of the period of notice, which is August 15. He explained that the government delegation s position on the European Commission s stand has been that Sri Lanka has the resolve to take these measures voluntarily, and not in response to pressure.
The Minister added, The current effort is to agree on a road map, and our position has been that Sri Lanka is prepared to consider such a road map provided that the road map is not unduly intrusive.
The Minister said that the Sri Lankan delegation had pointed out to the Commission that the country has been dealing with an extraordinary situation, and that special measures such as emergency law have been taken under such circumstances.
However, the delegation had explained that such special measures are not permanent and that they will be withdrawn when an extraordinary situation no longer exists in the country.
The delegation has also pointed out that credit must be given to Sri Lanka on matters such as child soldiers, and the progress with regard to the internally displaced persons. Sri Lanka was engaged in a war with the most ferocious terrorist group in the world and we are now emerging from that. The European Commission has shown an understanding of this situation, Professor Peiris said.
Furthermore, it was reported that the head of the EU delegation, Bernard Savage had said that the European Union is prepared to consider the possibility of extending GSP+ through mutual agreements.
The government delegation at the talks is headed by Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, and the other members are Attorney General Mohan Peiris, Foreign Affairs Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe and Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath.