The European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka Tung-Lai Margue yesterday announced that the EU would remove a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products entering its market, while the complete removal of duties on 66 percent of tariff lines covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries was expected to come into effect this week.
Addressing journalists at the EU office in Colombo-07 the Ambassador said the concessions had been given in recognition of the country’s commitment to implementing the 27
international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.
The Ambassador stressed the need for Sri Lankan industrialists to improve the standards on treatment of labour and environment which had been thus far inadequate.
"The removal of import duties will provide immediate benefit worth in excess of 300 million Euros per year and the country will benefit from GSP+ at least until 2021," he added.
He said Sri Lanka could take advantage of its agricultural products to the EU countries as there was a demand for it adding that the country produced so many quality products.
"The EUs objective is to provide Sri Lanka with an opportunity to develop its economy and create more job opportunities for Sri Lankans."
In answer to a query how the EU concessions would benefit the masses in the North and the East, the Ambassador said there were a large number of garment factories in the North and the employees of those would be directly benefited with the concessions extended to the Sri Lankan exports to the EU countries and so would the East with a thriving fishing industry.