(September 17, 2009 - Lanka Polity) European Union is likely to discontinue the GSP Plus tariff concessions that had been granted to Sri Lanka to recover from the damage of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
The trade sanctions, as some identify it despite it is retraction of preferences, is aimed at roping in a nation led by an arrogant regime that is rapidly drifting away from its traditional allies like Europe and US to the hands of the anti-Western block led by China.
The regime led by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his brothers has vowed to look into new markets in China and India etc. for Sri Lanka's garment exports. Sri Lanka produces good quality, cheap garment and 52% of them are exported to European Union countries. The withdrawal of tariff relief will increase the price of the garments by 10% and Sri Lanka is likely to lose the market for cheaper exports from countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Sri Lanka government has pledged to assist the garment industry to look into alternatives. However, industry experts say it is most unlikely to find new markets out of the traditional buyer zones. Around 250,000 workers, majority of them women that are one of the poorest sections of the society are employed in garment industry and around a million of the 20 million population of the island depend on garment industry.
Sri Lanka that is already in a severe economic crisis will be definitely hit hard by the loss of GSP Plus. However, the rulers are supercilious to go ahead with its plans not to bow to the pressure from West and the UN to investigate the severe human rights violations in the recent past especially during the last phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) that was fighting for a Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island.
Several months ago, Sri Lanka could defeat an attempt by West to move a probe on the human rights violations in the country at UN Human Rights Council with the support of the nations with similar records on human rights issues. The pro-government media and the ultra nationalist allies of the ruling coalition maintain a high level of ant-Western propaganda that is manipulated by the regime to muster support from the country's Sinhala majority.
The government won a series of minor elections in recent past with a broad majority although the people are dissatisfied with the escalated prices of almost everything. Most of them people say that they are grateful to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for his service in wiping out terrorism. But they are unhappy about the seemless corruption in the system.