Sri Lanka risks loss of GSP+ unless Anti-terrorism Bill changed

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EU writes to Foreign Ministry expressing concerns

Representatives of EU member states raise it with President on April 17

● Says it will have an impact even when SL re-applies for GSP next year after EU reforms on GSP + framework

● UK, US also raise concerns

Sri Lanka risks the loss of GSP + trade concessions due to the provisions of the proposed Anti-terrorism Bill as the European Union (EU), the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK) have expressed their concerns over it through multiple diplomatic channels, Daily Mirror learns.

Paola Pampaloni, the European External Action Service Deputy Managing Director of Asia and Pacific, wrote to the Foreign Ministry here expressing concerns on the new bill, according to an informed source.

The US has communicated its displeasure over the content of the new bill through Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington DC Mahinda Samarasinghe. Also, the UK authorities informed Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane who is there, that this bill, unless changed, will have an impact on trade relations through preferential trading.

Besides, some representatives of the EU member states raised concerns in this regard when they were called for high tea with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake on April 17, 2023. During the brief discussion, they said that the spirit of the bill would have a bearing on decisions regarding GSP + concessions. 

According to informed sources, these envoys noted that it will have a particular bearing when Sri Lanka re-applies for the same concession after upcoming reforms of the EU’S GSP + framework next year.

The repeal of the current Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is a commitment made by Sri Lanka to qualify for US $ 500 million Gsp( generalized Scheme of Preferences) + trade concessions in exporting to the markets in the EU region. The European Commission’s report on Sri Lanka is expected to be presented at the end of next month or early June.

However, there is criticism from various quarters like some civil society organizations, political parties in the opposition and trade unions on the new Anti-terrorism Bill introduced to be enacted in place of the PTA. They even call it far more draconian than the PTA.

The government has now delayed the presentation of the bill for discussion with the concerned parties. (Kelum Bandara)


 Courtesy Daily  Mirror

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Disclaimer: Sri Lanka risks loss of GSP+ unless Anti-terrorism Bill changed - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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