The European Union mission and the British High Commission in Colombo have assured that the Brexit wouldn’t result in the UK depriving Sri Lanka of GSP plus concessions.
Asked whether the UK would abide by EU decision to restore GSP plus in the wake of Brexit vote, Political, Trade and Communications section head Counsellor Paul Godfrey told The Island that as the UK remained a full member of the European Union until its formal exit, London too would provide the GSP plus facility to Sri Lanka. “However, once the formal exit comes into operation, there is no certainty as yet as to what arrangements might be in place,” Godfrey said.
The EU restored the GSP plus facility this week. The grouping withheld the facility in mid-August 2010 over the previous government’s refusal to accept a spate of conditions. Suspension caused heavy losses particularly to the garment sector.
UK voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the EU.
UPFA MP Padma Udaya Shantha of the Joint Opposition during ‘Vadapitiya’, a live debate on Derana this week downplayed the importance of Sri Lanka regaining GSP plus as its biggest market UK was no longer available. MP Shantha told UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardana not to brag about regaining GSP plus in the absence of lucrative UK market. The JO member pointed out that yahapalana government hadn’t taken into consideration the Brexit factor. Shantha was responding to MP Jayawardana, who explained how the EU facility could help their plans to create employment opportunities.