The Sunday Leader

Thousands stand to lose jobs

Bernard Savage

Bernard Savage

Hundreds of thousands of jobs are in peril after the E.C. last week recommended to the European Council that the G.S.P. + concession to Sri Lanka be temporarily suspended.
Garments, ceramic and fish exports are three sectors in the local economy that are benefiting from the G.S.P. + duty free concession in exporting to the E.U.  Garments are also Sri Lanka’s single largest foreign exchange earner. That sector alone provides employment to 300,000.  With margins being squeezed, compounded by the recession, the ceramic industry will not be able to survive if the additional expense of an 8% import duty is levied on ceramic imports in the event G.S.P. + is withdrawn, a ceramic exporter told The Sunday Leader. In the case of garments, in the event the G.S.P. + concession is waived, the effective duty imposed on such imports would be around 9-10%.
E.U.’s Ambassador in Colombo Bernard Savage earlier told this reporter that the European Council generally takes two months to act on E.C.’s recommendations, after which in six months time their decision becomes law, i.e. in Sri Lanka’s case, the time period for the suspension of the G.S.P. + concession to become effective.  Savage had  also said that the Council generally goes along with E.C.’s recommendations. When this reporter tried to contact Savage to find out the meaning of the phrase “temporarily suspended” on Friday, he said that it means exactly what it says.
But when asked to elaborate, he said that he had to rush to a meeting, and cut this reporter short.
Meanwhile the ceramic exporter speaking on the grounds of anonymity said that El Salvador and Sri Lanka were two countries which were being investigated by the E.U. in regard to the future of the G.S.P. + concession.
In the case of El Salvador, it was in regard to public servants not being allowed to form trade unions. However, the Salvadoran Government amended its Constitution to allow unionism in the public sector, though not fully consonant with the E.U.’s requirement, E.U. yet dropped its investigations on El Salvador after this constitutional amendment, he said.
Sri Lanka too in its brief should tell the E.U. that it was fighting the cruellest terrorist outfit in the world and try to seek a way of getting the E.U.’s investigations waived, without being confrontationist, he said. The source said that Sri Lanka still has breathing space to establish its case to the E.U., before the suspension becomes finally effective, i.e. eight months from now.
In Sri Lanka’s case, the future of the G.S.P. + concession is being threatened due to Government of Sri Lanka’s (G.o.S.L.’s) alleged human rights abuse revolving round the prosecution of its war against the L.T.T.E., and the recruitment of child soldiers by former L.T.T.E. leader Karuna, now a Government M.P. Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Prof. G.L. Peiris and Dr.  Sarath Amunugama, appointed by G.o.S.L. to deal with the E.U. on the G.S.P. + issue were not immediately available for comment. (See also page 40)

3 Comments for “Thousands stand to lose jobs”

  1. Kiruba

    I t is for a long time that thia will happen and the GOSL not worried about that instead of that they were defending their actions and counter action,futhermore India was playing middle man role in that issue now indian also could not do anything!!! wanting a change in leadership why can’t all Sri Lankans sacrifice their living and keep the same regime in power,and just drink some water,do they???? ,I f they wants a decent living I am afraid a change in regime is the only way,
    There is a say you cannot have the cake and eat tha cake,Perhaps professor Peris should file a case against EU at Sri Lankan High Court and be keep quiet

  2. Dilshan

    Only Sarath Fonseka’s WIN, will change this. Only Sarath Fonseka can bring Prosperous to New Lanka.

  3. raguna

    It is sad that all of us are engaged in never ending political onslaughts against each other while a 100,000 or so of our own brothers and sisters are facing the peril of being thrown out from their jobs. Along with their families, dependents etc., the total affected would be well over 300,000, i.e., higher than the total no. of displaced people immediately after the war.
    What has the present arrogant and high headed administration, the so called leaders with 40 years political experience done? Instead of skillful negotiation and correcting whatever shortcomings on our part, what they have done and doing right now is to go on arguing and trying to prove that we are always right and you (..bullheaded, capitalistic Europeans.. ) are always wrong. Then publish as headline news and our patriotic population will jump on to the streets and shout “Jaya weva…..” (Now anybody please don’t tell me this is the result of what SF reported to have said yesterday. This has a much older beginning)
    Now one minister challenges all the so called Imperialist, Capitalistic nations and shouts I will take you to courts. Again the patriots shout “Jayawewa….”. But do they realize this is not going to help the poor factory worker at all or does anyone care for that matter.

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