EU delegation arrives in SL for GSP+ audit
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The GSP+ monitoring team from the European Union (EU) arrived in Colombo during the weekend to review the implementation of the 27 international conventions applicable for the special incentive arrangement.
They will begin their work and meet stakeholders from today (27). Sri Lanka had been a beneficiary of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and the EU delegation visits Sri Lanka for regular sessions every two years.
The EU monitoring team last arrived in 2018 after lifting of the GSP+ ban in 2017. The delegation will be in Colombo from 27 September to 5 October. The team comprises NikolaosZaimis, Senior Adviser on Trade and Sustainable Development; IonnisGiogkarakisArgyropoulos, Head of Division South Asia, European External Action Service (EEAS); Guido Dolara, Coordinator GSP Trade Preferences; LluisPrats – Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission; and Monika Bylaite, Desk Officer for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, EEAS.
In October 2020, the EU said that the GSP+ scheme will be available for a period ahead until there is a reclassification. EU pointed out that it was important for Sri Lanka to comply with the regulations of the agreement to continue to benefit from the scheme. GSP+ is granted on the condition of Sri Lanka’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.
Also the EU Parliament brought a resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka, on 10 June 2021 based on its previous resolutions on the country and also regard to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 9 February 2021 entitled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’.
The move reminded Sri Lanka that its continued eligibility for GSP+ will take into account Regulations No. 01 of 2021 published on 12 March 2021 under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act and the report by UN Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism of 14 December 2018 entitled ‘Visit to Sri Lanka’.
Other criteria includes the statement by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on 24 February 2021 and the final report of January 2020 of the EU Election Observation Mission to the Sri Lanka Presidential Election of 16 November 2019.
The resolution also called for a rigorous, impartial and complete investigation into the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in line with international legal standards; calls, furthermore, for those against whom there is evidence of culpability to promptly be brought to trial, and for those for whom there is insufficient evidence to be released. The resolution also called Sri Lanka to implement several other recommendations.