The European Commission today 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.
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.