The European Union's import tariff concession GSP+ would be made available to Sri Lanka with effectfrom May19 despite the country's lack of progress in meeting criteria in some areas of focus, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka Tung-Lai Margue said today. "The removal of duties on Sri Lankan exports to the EU will come into force this Friday after publication in the EU's official journal," Margue said. This would mean full removal of duties on 66 per cent of tariff lines covering a range of products from textile to fisheries. The EU denied the facility to Sri Lanka in 2010 due to the country's failure to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of environment and good governance. Margue said Sri Lanka still needed improvement in many areas of criteria and the EU will keep on monitoring the process for further improvement. For example the EU awaits to see the final draft of Sri Lanka's new Counter Terrorism Act which is to replace the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act. "Granting of good governance (GSP+) facility does not mean that situation in Sri Lanka with regard to progress is fully satisfactory.
International Human Rights groups have described PTA as draconian which allows indefinite detention of people," Margue said. Margue said torture and forced child marriages and labor rights violations are being still reported from Sri Lanka. He said the GSP+ restoration will provide Sri Lanka with immediate benefits worth in excess of 300 million Euro annually. In 2016, Sri Lanka exported 2.6 billion Euro worth of goods to EU countries.