Countries and regions
Sri Lanka has been a major beneficiary of the trading opportunities offered by the Generalised Scheme of Preferences. Since a decision to temporarily withdraw the Generalized System of Preferences Plus benefits in 2010, Sri Lanka has still enjoyed preferential access to the EU market for its key export items to the EU, such as clothing.
- The EU is Sri Lanka's largest export destination, absorbing 36% of its exports.
- Textiles and clothing account for more than half of Sri Lanka’s export value with machinery, rubber-based goods, jewellery and agricultural products making up for the rest.
EU-Sri Lanka "trade in goods" statistics
|Year||EU imports||EU exports||Balance|
EU and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's trade preferences
- Sri Lanka has been a major beneficiary of the trading opportunities offered by the EU's scheme for imports known as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus. The most important Sri Lankan import products benefiting from these trade preferences have been T-shirts and other clothing items, as well as fisheries products.
- A decision to temporarily withdraw the Generalized System of Preferences Plus benefits from Sri Lanka in 2010 was based the findings of a European Commission investigation
- The investigation relied on reports by UN Special Rapporteurs and Representatives, other UN bodies and by human rights NGOs that identified significant shortcomings in Sri Lanka's implementation of three UN human rights conventions: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Trade relations between the EU and Sri Lanka are governed by a Co-operation and Partnership Agreement that entered into force in April 1995.
Sri Lanka and the EU meet regularly in the format of a Joint Commission, in order to ensure a smooth functioning and implementation of the agreement.
After temporary withdrawal of Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus benefits to Sri Lanka took effect on 15 August 2010, EU imports from Sri Lanka have only benefited from the standard Generalised Scheme of Preferences preferential treatment.
This means that Sri Lanka still enjoys preferential access to the EU market for its key export items to the EU, such as clothing.
The European Commission remains committed to supporting Sri Lanka in its efforts to tackle the challenges it faces in terms of human rights, and in terms reconstruction and reconciliation in the country.
Trading with Sri Lanka
- Rules and requirements for trading with Sri Lanka
- The EU is present on the ground in Sri Lanka
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka is a member of the World Trade Organisation