The European Union has reached out to Sri Lanka with a critical announcement regarding the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme. The current arrangement is set to expire on 31st December 2023, and with nearly EUR 3.2 billion worth of Sri Lankan exports to the EU in 2022 alone, the EU recognizes the significance of GSP+ for Sri Lankan exporters.

Being one of Sri Lanka’s largest trading partners, the European Union acknowledges the importance of maintaining preferential access for Sri Lankan goods in the European market. To ensure a seamless transition, the European Commission has proposed a four-year extension to the existing GSP+ scheme until 31st December 2027.

The proposal comes as negotiations for the new GSP+ arrangement are still underway between the EU’s co-legislators and Sri Lanka. The extension aims to safeguard Sri Lanka’s preferential trade privileges during the interim period, enabling the country to continue exporting its products under the current terms.

The GSP+ scheme is designed to promote the economic development of eligible countries by granting them preferential access to the EU market. This initiative has proven to be instrumental in bolstering Sri Lanka’s export sector and driving economic growth. It provides duty-free access to the European market for a wide range of products, giving Sri Lankan businesses a competitive advantage over non-GSP+ countries.