The meeting, held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere, was co-chaired by Mrs. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of Commerce, for Sri Lanka and Mr. Peter Berz, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate General for Trade, for the EU.
The Working Group discussed issues related to bilateral trade and investment and possible means for their promotion in a mutual beneficial manner. In particular it discussed Sri Lanka's intention in applying for GSP+ status under the European Union's GSP Regulation. It took positive note of the fact that Sri Lanka had made significant progress in addressing outstanding issues towards launching an application, especially relating to the rule of law, democracy, governance and the overall situation pertaining to human and labour rights and environmental protection.
They welcomed that as a result of Sri Lanka's successful reform of its fisheries governance system, the Commission has proposed to Council on 21 April 2016 the lifting of the import ban related to illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
They also discussed bilateral matters and noted progress related to investment dialogue, customs valuation and exports of fruits and vegetables from Sri Lanka to the EU.
The EU and Sri Lanka also reviewed the results and work ahead after the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi and expressed their hope that the Trade Facilitation Agreement would enter into force as soon as possible, while noting action already taken by Sri Lanka to ratify the agreement.
Sri Lanka and EU noted the imminent launch of the trade related technical assistance projects to assist SMEs’ trade competitiveness in regional and EU markets under EU’s Regional Programming for Asia (Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020).