COLOMBO, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka began the formal process on Wednesday to reapply for key trade concessions from the European Union which had earlier been suspended over various concerns.
A high level delegation from the EU is currently in the island nation to discuss with the Sri Lankan government on the GSP Plus trade concessions which had been withdrawn from Sri Lanka during the previous regime.
A joint statement by Sri Lanka and the EU said that the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation met in the capital Colombo on Tuesday and discussed issues related to promoting bilateral trade and investment.
In particular they started the process that may lead to the re- admission of Sri Lanka to the status of GSP Plus under the European Union's new GSP regulation, the statement said.
They also discussed bilateral matters related to investment facilities, import duties and fishery exports from Sri Lanka to the EU.
Sri Lanka's Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said that Sri Lanka had lost considerable apparel revenue over the past few years as a result of losing GSP Plus.
"Recovery of GSP Plus would be a great step forward for our competitive apparel sector and its global image. As a result of losing GSP Plus, we have lost considerable apparel revenues in the last few years," the Minister said.
According to the Minister, bilateral trade between EU and Sri Lanka exceeded the 5 billion U.S. dollars mark for the first time in 2014 by earning 5.07 billion dollars. Apparel was the biggest export item in 2014 at 2.16 billion dollars growing by 10.5 percent.