Sri Lanka has time till April next year

Sri Lanka can still retain access to the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus(GSP+) concession if the Prevention of Terrorism Act is repealed by the first quarter of next year.  

‘If there is some forward movement and the Act is repealed by April next year the EU decision to withdraw Sri Lanka’s access to the GSP + can be reviewed’, a Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian told Counterpoint. ‘This was one of the key conditions on which Sri Lanka got the GSP+ back. ‘

The PTA was high on the agenda during discussions between a visiting EU delegation and a seven member delegation of the TNA when they met yesterday.


The TNA stands by its original position that the PTA must be repealed and not amended.  


The plight of detainees held under the PTA and recent arrests under its provisions were also discussed at the meeting. A spate of arrests under the PTA were made soon after the Easter Sunday attacks and there have been sporadic arrests of those who have been posting on social media. The break into the Anuradhapura prison two weeks ago by State Minister for Prison Management and Prisoner’s Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte and the threats that were made to PTA prisoners who are detained there during the incident were also brought to the delegation’s notice.


The land grab that is taking place in the North and East for military occupation and resettlement had also been discussed with the EU delegation.


The TNA delegation had also reiterated to the EU delegation the importance of a solution to the national question within the framework of a new constitution.  ‘The other issues cannot be taken in isolation from this’, a source pointed out.  


The access which Sri Lanka regained to the GSP+ in 2017 was conditional on the repeal of the PTA and effective implementation of 27 international conventions including human rights conventions. Earlier this year the European Parliament adopted a resolution with a massive majority to repeal the PTA and called on the European Commission to consider the temporary withdrawal of Sri Lanka’s access to the GSP+.


The EU delegation is currently on a routine visit to Sri Lanka to review human rights and good governance measures. The GSP+ is used as a leverage to improve on these areas. In addition to the TNA, the delegation met with senior government officials including those from the police.


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