Seafood exporters welcome GSP+ restoration

Seafood exporters welcome GSP+ restoration

The Seafood Exporters Association (SEA) yesterday welcomed Sri Lanka’s achievement of regaining the GSP+ concession from the European Union.

SEA said Sri Lanka faced a major setback in fish exports due to the EU ban and the removal of GSP+.

“Fish exports from Sri Lanka went down drastically and we lost our market share to our competitors in Maldives, Vietnam and Indonesia. It was not only the seafood exporters that were affected due to this EU ban and removal of GSP+, it also affected the chain of people that were involved down the line from the fishermen and their families to the boat owners that were a link to fish exports.

The GSP+ will help us to increase the export volumes, bring in additional revenue to the country and once again we will be placed on the threshold of being the number one tuna exporter from Asia to the EU,” SEA said.

After the lifting of the EU fishing ban on Sri Lanka, GSP+ was the next big thing which the SEA expected to come. Sri Lanka became eligible to apply for this facility after the EU ban was lifted. The Government of Sri Lanka, spearheaded by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, worked hard on the application process and SEA with its members were confident that the Sri Lankan Government would receive a positive response from the EU Commission and would be successful in getting the GSP+ back in 2017 and they have accomplished that, the association said. It added that this was going to be a complete game-changer in the region.

The team that worked hard to lift the EU ban continued with the same spirit to bring about a truly international seafood export industry in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Government, Department of Commerce and the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka and other related agencies worked around the clock to do the balance, what was expected to come was the GSP+ facility.

GSP+ will pave the way for increased exports with zero duty access and will help the country realise the dream of the Sri Lankan Government to achieve $ 1.5 billion in seafood exports within the next four years.

The statement also said the Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka sincerely thanked the Government of Sri Lanka, President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, the Department of Commerce and the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry for working towards this achievement.

(daily FT)

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