Sri Lanka garment exports boom despite EU’s GSP+ withdrawal

Mar 31, Colombo: Despite the withdrawal of European Union’s Generalized System of Preference plus (GSP+) trade facility to Sri Lanka last August, Sri Lanka’s garments exports to Europe and the United State rose significantly, the Central Bank figures showed.

The Central Bank said in its economic performance review Thursday that the increasing trend observed in garment exports since the withdrawal of the GSP+ scheme in August 2010 continued in January 201.

Earnings from textile and garments exports increased by 121.9 percent to USD 385 million in January 2011, the Bank reported.

Out of this rise, garment exports to the EU increased 143.5 percent while the 95.8 percent has been observed to the United States.

In December 2009, the exports of garments to EU increased by 33.9%, the Central Bank figures showed. Exports of garments to the US increased by 31.4% during the same period.

The European Union, citing Sri Lanka’s failure to meet human rights conventions relevant for benefits under the scheme, in August 2010 suspended the GSP+ tariff concession for Sri Lanka that provided tax free access to European markets for the country’s products, especially for garment exports.

Foreign buyers are continuing to place orders for Sri Lankan garments due to their high quality, and timely and efficient delivery, economic analysts in Colombo say.

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