Improvements in Sri Lanka’s human rights situation led to the United States giving back the GSP trade concession to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera said that Sri Lanka has made notable progress on the human rights issue and this has been recognized by countries like the US. The US Department of Commerce announced last week announced that the US President had restored the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with effect from 29 June 2015 for a number of countries including Sri Lanka. The US President signed HR 1295 into law on 29 June 2015, reauthorising the US GSP program until 31 December 2017, providing preferential duty-free entry into US market for nearly 5,000 products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including Sri Lanka.
Ajith Perera said that Sri Lanka stands to benefit in a big way from the US GSP as the apparel sector will get a lot of concessions when exporting to the US markets.
The Deputy Foreign Minister also said that Sri Lanka is hopeful of regaining the EU GSP Plus trade concession soon. He said that talks in this regard were progressing and the EU has shown interest in giving Sri Lanka the trade concession after the new Government showed progress on the human rights front.