The top-level delegation will be in the island to discuss a range of issues with the Government, including the possibility of regaining the Generalized System of Preferences plus (GSP+) tariff concession facility.
During the visit the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL), in partnership with the Apparel Exporters Association and the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, will hold a breakfast seminar on 22 January at Hilton Colombo Residence (JAIC) from 8.00 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
The main focus of this seminar will be on the possibility of Sri Lanka regaining the GSP Plus facility.
The European Union is Sri Lanka's top trading partner, absorbing 36% of its exports. After temporary withdrawal of GSP+ benefits to Sri Lanka took effect on 15 August 2010, EU imports from Sri Lanka have only benefited from the standard Generalized Scheme of Preferences preferential treatment.
The Seminar offering an in-depth analysis of EU-Sri Lanka trade issues will provide a unique opportunity for the business community to directly interact with the EU's trade policymakers.
The key speakers at this event include Nikos Zaimis - Deputy Head of GSP Unit at the Directorate General for Trade, Sustainable Development and General System of Preferences (GSP) at the European Commission, who will address the participants on the key features of the GSP Plus scheme as well as provide insight into what Sri Lanka needs to do to regain GSP Plus.
Andreas Julin, the Desk Officer for Sri Lanka at the Directorate General for Trade at the European Commission in Brussels, will speak on EU-Sri Lanka trade.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva, will speak on the Sri Lankan Government's approach to trade with the European Union.
The State Minister for International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema will be part of the panel of experts at the seminar.
Leading apparel industrialist Mahesh Hirdaramani, Director of the Hirdaramani Group of Companies, will speak on the impact of the GSP+ loss on the apparel sector and the benefits of Sri Lanka regaining GSP + from the private sector perspective. Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), will provide a policy overview on Sri Lanka's trade with the EU.