23 September, 2023


Full Text: European Commission Report On Assessment Of The Application For GSP+ By Sri Lanka

Removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued commitment to sustainable development, human rights and good governance.European Commission

The Commission on Wednesday proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance. These one-way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines, covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries.

These preferences would come under a special arrangement of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences, known as GSP+. This arrangement is designed to support developing countries by fostering their economic development through increased trade with Europe and providing incentives to take tangible measures towards sustainable development. The European Parliament and the Council have now up to four months to raise potential objections before the measures become effective.

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “GSP+ preferences can make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development by increasing exports to the EU market. But this also reflects the way in which we want to support Sri Lanka in implementing human rights, rule of law and good governance reforms. I am confident of seeing timely and substantial further progress in these areas and the GSP+ dialogue and monitoring features will support this reform process. This should include making Sri Lankan counter-terrorism legislation fully compatible with international human rights conventions.”

Granting access to the GSP+ scheme does not mean that the situation of the beneficiary country with respect to the 27 international conventions is fully satisfactory. Instead, it offers the incentive of increased trade access in return for further progress towards the full implementation of those conventions, and provides a platform for engagement with beneficiaries on all problematic areas. As is the case for all GSP+ countries, the removal of customs duties for Sri Lanka would be accompanied with rigorous monitoring of the country’s progress in the area of sustainable development, human rights and good governance.

Sri Lanka had already benefited from GSP+ in the past. In 2010 the EU decided however to stop the preferential treatment for Sri Lankan imports due to the failure to address reported human rights violations in the country. In 2015, the new government of Sri Lanka set out a path of major reforms aiming for national reconciliation, respect of human rights, the rule of law and good governance principles, as well as sustainable economic development. The Sri Lankan government applied for GSP+ in July 2016 and the Commission’s assessment has concluded that it met the GSP+ entry criteria set out in the EU Regulation.


Sri Lanka has taken important steps to improve the respect of human rights and extend good governance. A significant development is the 19th Constitutional amendment, which re-establishes the independence of key institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission. Sri Lanka has also taken concrete actions to among other things: ensure cases of missing persons are examined; offer better protection of witnesses and victims; release persons detained under controversial anti-terrorism regulations; combat child labour. Sri Lanka has also re-engaged with the UN system, in particular the UN Human Rights Council, where it has made commitments to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights. Moreover, Sri Lanka has achieved most of its Millennium Development Goals, especially in health, education and gender equality.

At the same time, more needs to be done to improve on issues of concern. Sri Lanka must ensure its counter-terrorism legislation is fully in line with international human rights conventions. As a matter of priority, it must put a definitive stop to the use of torture by security forces and the related impunity. The government must also see through policy and legislative processes to improve the rights of women and children, for example with regard to discrimination, domestic violence, minimum age of marriage, sexual exploitation, as well as harassment of trade unions. All of these issues would be subject to GSP+ monitoring to ensure that positive progress continues to be made.

The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. In 2015, total bilateral trade amounted to €4.7 billion. EU imports from Sri Lanka amounted to €2.6 billion and consisted mainly of textiles as well as rubber products and machinery.

There are currently 8 GSP+ beneficiaries: Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay and the Philippines. (European Commission – Press release)

To read the full text of the Commission Staff Working Document: Report on assessment of the application for GSP+ by Sri Lanka click here

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Even if numerous social elements constantly make efforts to interprit that nothing has been changed since 08th Jan 2015, but the power handling has now been moved from a hoodwinking family to a similar bunch.

    These the local jornos should explain in favour of masses without being biased to any kind of media mafia. Then only the message would outreach the average masses help changing their thoughts.

    Else, even if EU or any other world would praise the steps taken by the current govt in terms of improvement of HR in the country going through their indicators, the stance being established among the average would stay as it is.

    Just in Social media, I have noticed the manner they have praised the protest marches of Hambantota, not providing any good arguments but they are born stupid people to bend their both ends to Rajapakshes.

    • 3

      Hey guys, do you just believe – if Rajaakshe succeeded last election, EU or other powerful countries would ever return to cordial relations with a poor country like srilanka.
      Entire world was against the manner how Rajaapakshes ruled. Perhaps except few coutnries on the earth all others hated his rule. Google searches proved, how anti IC has been.
      Given such a situation, I never think getting back of GSP + would ever be a reality.

      Besides, the kind of concessions must not be underestimated as Rajapakshes had been doing. There only the poor had to suffer the burden more than those parasites, who firmly stood with their stubbornness to tender their stupid actions.
      Any political analysts would not disagree that we the like smaller poor folks have to stay in contact with developed world, if we really want to achieve some progress in creating jobs, upliftment of living standards. That is why Chinese investments see no limitations in term sof their approaches. Where italians cant perform are being given to Chinese in that couintry. Almost every developing country with some healthy openess have now been caught by CHINESE investments. We finally need to say good bye to FROG IN A WELL MENTALITy if we really want to rise up from poverty.
      Srilanka is a poor country even if some politicians branded it as midincome earning folk – statistics say over 40% of the populace are still not earning 2 dollars a day. We talk our wonders… with bunch of thugs created by Rajaakshes are still let moving freely .. even after the new rule is started.

    • 2

      This is a carrot that is being dangled, for the stick to be used later if Srilanka does not fall in line. The reinstatement of GSP+ status to Srilanka is subject to adherence of 27 International conventions on Human Rights. This include Prevention of terrorism act, which the present government passed containing unacceptable clauses. Government has certainly reduced extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrests, but still Tamils are being subjected to discrimination. The promised solution to Tamils is no where near the horizon with President distancing himself from the parliamentary select committees reports. Even the agreed foreign input to war crimes hearing has been rejected by him despite a committee comprising all communities have recommended it to deliver justice to the affected people. You must remember that Prabaharan was given carrots for six years and when he did not reform, he was eliminated. Similar fate happened to Rajapakse when he was deposed from power. This government may get lenient treatment and a longer time given to correct itself. But if after a reasonable period, none of the expectations of the international community is fulfilled, then the stick will fall on them also, leading to humiliation.

  • 2

    It is very sad that the good work done by our Embassy in Brussels is not appreciated by the politicians. The silent but highly committed efforts of the Lady Trade Officer should be recognized adequately. I hope that HE the Ambassador will not offended by these comments made in very good faith by an analyst.

  • 7

    The European Commission appears to have been misinformed about the prevailing social and human rights situation in Sri Lanka, especially in the northeast.
    Only now, the five police officers who shot dead two students on October 10th have been remanded.
    Monks are on rampage in the east, against public servants performing their duties, and civilian cattle herders.
    Hindu Temples continued to be desecrated, while erection of Buddha statues in areas devoid of Buddhists, continues.
    Cases against 38 Tamils detained for years under the PTA are being shifted to Homagama courts from Colombo, to make it difficult for lawyers and their families.
    8500 familes still languish as IDPs due to their homes and lands not yet been returned by the military.
    The Commission needs to send a “Fact finding team”, to know the truth.

    • 2


      “The European Commission appears to have been misinformed about the prevailing social and human rights situation in Sri Lanka, especially in the northeast.”

      My humble understanding is that the GSP+ has been proposed because of significant progress in SL. All necessary conventions have been ratified by SL and their implementation will be monitored by foreigners. This is all good news for our basic rights and the economy. Nobody has claimed that all the problems have been solved.

      “Only now, the five police officers who shot dead two students on October 10th have been remanded.”

      Please check your facts. They were remanded 1-2 days after the incident and have been RE-remanded every two weeks. This is totally normal.

      “8500 familes still languish as IDPs due to their homes and lands not yet been returned by the military.”

      Very few of the remaining IDPs ever had any land. This is the reason the government is trying to buy land for them. How to give a steel or traditional house for families who have no land? Another problem is how would these families earn a living in their new house. The IDPs belong to a so called low caste and were landless laborers. Their caste may be the reason they have been forgotten in the camps by the Tamil diaspora and the TNA led NPC.

  • 3

    Every dark cloud has a silver lining. At least now EU has a strangle hold on making this Government to follow Human Rights; Rule of Law and Good Governance. What a come down for a Sovereign Government of Sri Lanka to be dictated by a foreign institution? Yet, if we fail, why not even get an “Outsider” to “Dictate” terms? Incidentally, seven years ago, in Parliament when this question was taken up, the present PM, the then Leader of the Opposition in answer to a question raised accusing him of representing matters to EU to withdraw this facility said: “Even if I did that what is wrong in that”. That debate is in Hansard and in ITN News video clip. However, this is a Silver Lining.

    • 1


      “At least now EU has a strangle hold on making this Government to follow Human Rights; Rule of Law and Good Governance.”

      I agree. Classic carrot and stick.

  • 8

    Best thing that happened to this country is Runil. He is the last hope for federalism. MR is a lier who came in saying yes to federal system and shafted the Tamils.

  • 1

    This document talks about the government’s ‘good work’ and 19A.

    What is the use of 19A when the government failed to reinstate the Constitutional Council (CC) – abolished by Rajapakse to have his hand picked people to the judiciary- with only independent honest people with integrity and eminence appointed to it.

    Amendment proposed 7 such persons and only 3 MPs. The JO refused to support it. Finally what happened. the government meekingly surrendered to the JO’s demands and made the CC MP controlled body. Now it has 7 MPs and 3 independent persons.

    How come citizenry expect fearless upright judiciary when the CC is under the firm grip of the MPs.

    This is not what RW and MS pledged to the people. This is clearly a act of deception of the people of Sri Lankans and the International Community by the new regime that promised governance free from corruption.

  • 7

    The fact is, EU knew all the violations in our wonder land because they are not Modias. But they have to deal with modias very carefully and diplomatically and we should not misunderstand that they are supporting our government. This is like showing sweets to mischievous kids. They are trying to educate our modias, not abandon them. Europeans never talk face to face with rude language like many Asians. I think we modias misunderstand their diplomatic approach – that is why we are always maintain our 3rd world status, not because we do not have enough rain, because we do not know how to manage. When LTTE tried to manage, stupid uneducated people like Karuna pulled them back.Singhalese are not different, Vimal is same as karuna – it is a big curse to our nation – I think, even God wanted us to be like this.

  • 3

    This is another Batalanada B***S***..He reckons this will bring USD 5000 Million to Srilanka.

    Wonder whether Yahapalan suckers still shout hear hear..!!

    But the real exciting news is the UNP Sinhala Buddhists’ last hope, Wijedasa;s iron clad guarantee to safeguard the Nation from exiled LTTE.

    Galleon Ravi’s attempts for basement sale of our Lankan Citizenship to Diasporians has been shot down by Wijedasa.

    He says no way Galleon can give Suren Surendran and his ex LTTE buddies cheap tickets to enter Srilanka and cause trouble.

    I am sooo glad that at least one Sinhala Buddhist among this Yahapalana mob has the balls to protect his Nation.

    May God Bless him.

    • 1


      “Galleon Ravi’s attempts for basement sale of our Lankan Citizenship to Diasporians has been shot down by Wijedasa.”

      300K USD for a temporary 3-5 year residency visa? Deposited at max 4% in our unstable banks and without any guarantee of repatriation?

      Cannot help wondering who will accept this “generous” offer that only shows the growing desperation.

      Again Ravi reiterates his promise of no questions asked about the origin of the money.

  • 0

    It is instinctly clearthat the European Union is Deaf & Dumb as anyone else.
    RW & MY3’s pledges were written on the sand folks.

    Senthil… the bigger curse is you are outside the country.
    So you senthil speak in rude language too??
    Was it senthil’s god who wanted us to be like this? BTW who is your god Senthil? Our god is probably different to yours senthil.

    It is alright to say we are modayas. Looking at GSP+ is’nt better to identify those in the Euoropean Commossion to be even bigger MODAYAS ?

  • 3

    I as an individual and Citizen have more pressing concerns to worry about,

    1) How on earth is any government going to solve the grievances faced by all the people of this country, The News 1st door to door programme is a fantastic eye opener, do any of us living in The city or any familiar villages have any idea of how many interior unheard unknown remote villages are there?

    How on earth can all of them be served under the current constitution? and how to curb corruption?

    Most people do not even have access to the bear necessities like clean drinking water which has caused the death of many from kidney deceases due from drinking unclean water.

    no bridges for children to safely cross over no roads, no power, I can give a huge list.

    but the issue is I say with full responsibility as long as the present system of constitution remains and the like of WV’s laps keeping presenting fiction to cover facts-forget this country moving forward.

    The only way everyone will be winners will be to hand down the administration to a federal level and arrange the administration districts in a way that it can be practically handled.

    The late President HE.Premdasa was the only person who came at least close to it by bringing in District systems.

    If This government does not establish a full-scale federal system within this year before going to polls for local and provincial elections, I will say this country will return soon to the hands of some ruthless dictatorship and all hopes will be lost.

    Sri Lanka needs a Federal system not just limiting with Provinces but even at the most remotest village level.

    HE The President and The Hon Prime Minister and their loyal members need to put their foot down and federalize this country- today Sri Lanka still looks like how Malaysia was in 1960’s and look at Malaysia’s achievements with the federalizing of their country

    It is utter nonsense of the critics on federalizing will lead to separatism, this myth must be shunned,ofcause those who want to rob from a huge pot which can never be never be controlled would be very unhappy about federalizing.

    In a federal administration system, it will be very very tough and to establish transparency along with more public involvement will be much easy.

    Meanwhile, I can not understand why The present government is not approaching Israel to help us with the water management issue they are the best in the world for this.

    The government need to put most of the less important issues on hold and immediately concentrate on changing the constitution to a federal system and concentrate full time on it and reaching out to Israel to solve our water problem even if we have to consider sea water desalination we better do it before its too late. and as for power supply they should embrace India & China for Solar and Holland for wind mills.

    Even for us to enjoy the GSP Plus and other exports we need to have a proper corruption curbed administration and plenty of water and power.

    You can not ever curb corruption until you can have Federal constitution that will make way to establish departments’ subordinate entities of administration in every nook and corner of this Island I really want to see how the government is going to achieve it.

    I am very thankful to news 1st for their concept!

    2017 must be remembered a year of Federalization of Sri Lanka or else we must prepare for the worse in 2020.

    If Federalization does not take place and instead if they go ahead with the same old good for nothing Provincial and local government election I honestly believe there will be a power change and a very destructive government will replace the present government which has so far at least removed the fear psychosis and ushered a lot of peace and established a relatively secure environment.

    I say the duo HE The President and The Hon. Prime Minister and the national government are the best things that ever happened to this country.

    Every Country will have the unsatisfied block of people and nothing will change them, they will only see the dirt through their windows, they are a people who do not understand that there has to be a balance of appreciation along with critic. you also need to appreciate the skies and stars at night and the trees and birds in the morning.

    But that should not let the leaders deny the rest who appreciate practicality.

  • 9

    Ranil makes us feel small, worthless, all to get some concessions from hypocritical EU.

    This mans (Ranil) entire career is a black mark on this country .

    He has destroyed the UNP and now the self-respect of this country.

    Without GSP plus we were doing OK and would have adjusted and eventually emerged stronger.Singapore would never have agreed to this humiliation. This loss of soverignty and dignity is not worth the price Ranil

  • 6

    harry hatton ,another lappy ,another never statisified ,or memeber clan of the crooks in question.

    you do not matter ,Sri Lanka matters, ranil is the way forward ,like it or not The world has accept3d it.

    Please try playing marbles.

    We want to progress and we will with the Present government !

  • 7

    There are Three types of people in every Developing Country.

    Born losers.
    Mindset = 1) destroy the economy and life of Minorites , using lies slander murder, deception, deny and block the buying of properties etc, etc.
    make their life miserable with lies cuased by jealousy and hate.

    They know no other way as their head is so full of mush they know only to blame the Minorities.

    2)The racist and bigots, these are so much programmed since childhood, they can only reconcile with themselves by ethnic cleansing of the minorities.

    3) These are those who come from sound family background a cream of the society with good upbringing and well-trained mind of live let live and are very innovative minded

    No 1) Is always in need of a cardboard Robinhood to rob not from the rich but from the blood and sweat of the Minorites and feed them.

    2) These want a bloodthirsty Hitler to completely wipe out the Minorities.

    3) These are born and raised as heroes fighters too proud to accept any handouts, visionaries they mean business with politicians they cast their votes to.

    Real visionaries, they want stable governments and stable nations with equal opportunities access to financial institutions legally, access to all the nation’s resources. They need opportunities with an open market competition with like minded individuals not caring about race or religion.

    This is the truth, This is not just hitting out at Sri Lankans- These People are found in every single Country in the world.

  • 8

    Lanka Netizen,
    Very sensible writing , hope this kind of writing will enlighten at least many of our people blindly support corrupted polititians to ruin the country. People should not be satisfied with bones thrown by corrupt politicians.
    Thondamannay – sorry for upsetting you by using our old rude word which I will withdraw but the facts still remain. I remember a story. In a public meeting a speaker addressed that 50% of you audiens are fools. And audiens shouted to withdraw his statement. Then that speaker said 50% of you audiens are intelligent – then every one fit that cap to their head and kept quiet. We can dream of Singapore but it is only possible if the government implement federalism. Tamils do not want to go separate or wanted to join with India like Cream, we wanted to be proud srilankan Tamils – all Tamils were asking from the day British left is not to suppress North & East by south but non of the south or the west listened until LTTE & Diaspora propaganda but still many country side srilankans are behaving like frog in a pond and politicians do not want them to come out either – you tell others how to call them.

  • 5

    Senthil -Thank you.

    If no Fedral system is honestly implimented (not just north & east ,but all provinces)

    You can forget Sri lanka’s progress and whatever little traquility we are enjoying may end with misery permmanatly in 2020- that is if The present government loses the presidential and general elections and I see it losing if it does not be wise and implement a fedral system and also have a Joint PM in the cabinet from both major parties.

  • 5

    I am a bit disturbed after watching today’s news item on HE The president’s speech.

    The Joint opposition’s tactics of bullying and emotionally harassing seems to be getting him.

    He should not even bother to give explanations, He is the boss until 2020 and he needs to do what he has to do to rebuild the nation, no, matter what it takes.

    At the end of his term if whatever he does turns out successful then that is what matters, he should keep his head up and use all the resources in hand and keep doing what he believes is right.

    Right now we need the economy moving so that at least we can keep paying the interest on loans borrowed through years and help the people sustain.

    However, If The president still wants to give in to the pressure of emotional blackmail of his opponents and not move to establish the Federal systemthen it is best he does what he can and dignifiedly retire, I say this with due respect, because by 2020 if we have the same bullock cart of a constitution the truth is your opponents will for sure chew the entire cabinet down, I wonder if it would even last until 2020.

    Abraham Lincoln

    “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

  • 0

    It is shameful that carrot of trade concessions have to be offered to implement basic human rights in a country!

    Economies relying on discounts is always bad and never learn to stand on it’s feet.

    Sira knows that there are enough black on his name and he does not want to go down as the man who betrayed sinhalese! It is interesting to see how UNP will try to check mate him to bring in kangaroo courts try military!

    • 2

      Whom to blame if not your Guru to Mahinda Jarapakashe ?

      It would not have gone that far, if you guys senses it right. Even today, you the men though in your sexagenarian age group, not seem to have understood the basics.

      In the aftermath of the elemination of terror in the country, he spent more to polish his image and build a monarchy rather than thinking of upliftment of poverty and improvement of basic human rights. THere the man was even more blind than to that pundit galle born- naturally blind Astroman who is nowadays adding his thoughts to the media one behind the other.
      Entire world stood against previous tyranial regime was not because of end phase-war related harms that occured as is the case for any wars, but having studied more of the harms deliberately being done by Rajaakshe and his thugs in the aftermath of the war.
      Journalists were attacked.
      Journaos were murdered
      Women were attacked
      Children were attacked
      No respect and dignity for anyone but to Rajaakshes – artistes like Jackson Anthony for his personal gains, put the man on the altar officially declaring out MR to be the king.
      Uneducated, unculatured man Mahinda Rajaakshe thoughts, he is only person to give a lead to this grass eating masses dominated island nation, he would surely be able to abuse them as prey in each and every elections, consolidating his and his family s political powers.
      However, what unexpected is occured on the 8th Jan 2015, thanks to united civil groups led former opposition;


      Elemination of terror ending the civil war which had been the relay race occured in the term of MR, but he thought it was ONLY his unique ability worked on the elemination of terror, and that was then abused as the licence to whatever he and his family with no education or any standards thought war right.
      That Jaliya WIckramabalusooriya now being in remand – forever period of over 2 months – as the former ambassador to previous So called regime … says the story to even 10 year old so easily.
      No matter any brainy ones would criticise them, Rajaakshe BEHAVED like donkeys.
      Today, we the lankens have to bear all the loads of burden.
      Actually, Rajapakshe should be KEPT permament in Jail only for all this mess.There are NUMEROUS PROOFs if one would stand against them:

  • 1

    srinath.gunaratne -Oh Please for the sake of men and women of commonsnse reading thse comments ,I say stop talking shop.

    To do any business with the civilised world ,you can not become apes , you need to match thier standard of civilization.

    Besides they are the clients , they do not work like us , where the customer is treatd like a piece of shit by all service providers.

    Boy -you can not eat the cake and have the cake ,just make up your ficket mind.

    and please do ypourself a favour do not talk for the entire Sri lanka population.

    Go and get the permission from our akas and ngas from the garment factories , before they ,”rade husungen” and serve you with a piece of mind.

    I hope the CT will encourage this article in Sinhal and tamil to be read by The factries ladies , so they can answer Gune akiya.

    • 0

      Srinath is a subhuman at least from what he hs been uttering to CT – more I cant know. He is no boy either.. if yes, and old boy of any college… however is believed to be in Uk, but yet to learn what democracy and basic human rights are. And further to this he is a retired man who has yet to find the truth from all the crap regardless of whatever being discussed. He is like that Bandula Gunawardhana- the man with a Parippu pot style a mouth piece making and taking every efforts to save the bum of Rajapakshe. Today he shamlessly responded to the media today – ” today only I knew that previous regime of MR agreed to sell some acres from Colombo harbour area”.


      That BBC srilanken journalist had the agreement to prove the statement. There BG became like a dog who made every effort to hide the tail behind the legs. So will Srinath become sooner than later.

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