Wednesday, February 17, 2010

EU Suspends Preferential Trade Benefits From Sri Lanka Because of Human Rights Record

"EU punishes Sri Lanka for rights abuses "

"The European Union has decided to suspend Sri Lanka's preferential trade benefits because of concerns over the country's human rights record.

The Sri Lankan government has criticised the EU's decision.

It said it would intensify its efforts to engage in negotiations with Brussels to reverse the decision.

Sri Lanka's garments industry will be hit hardest, as it enjoys tax breaks to sell to retailers in Europe... The EU decision is set to take effect in six months' time, to give Sri Lanka a chance to address the 'shortcomings'.

Besides garments, fisheries products are the most important Sri Lankan exports to the EU under the scheme, the European Commission says...

It means that the trade benefits worth about $135m will be temporarily withdrawn in six months' time unless the EU's concerns are addressed.

The government is facing increasing international calls for an independent investigation into allegations of war crimes committed in the final stages of the war between security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels last year."

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