Dr. Harsha de Silva | Pic by Gihan Alwis

Sri Lanka is in the process of restructuring its foreign offices based on the requirements that are needed to strengthen economic diplomacy around the world, Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva said.

Speaking at an event organized by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) recently, the Deputy Minister made these comments responding to a question pertaining to difficulties in obtaining the necessary travel documents when traveling to countries for business purposes.

Dr. de Silva stated that steps had already been taken to address the issue. “Look at Hong Kong. Everything is moving all the time. We need an office in countries like that because that would benefit Sri Lanka as a country,” he said.

Speaking further, he also mentioned the progress made towards regaining the GSP+ facility. He said that the application for the GSP+ had been signed and was ready. “These are part of the formalities that we need to do. We are now sure that we would get the facility sooner rather than later,” the Deputy Minister added.

Delegation of the European Union (EU) is scheduled to visit the country in November to check and monitor the progress made by Sri Lanka in terms of adhering to its requirements.  Sri Lanka has invested Rs. 650 million on the vessel monitoring systems that have been brought down to install on fishing vessels, as part of the EU requirement. So far, the equipment has been installed in over 800 vessels out of approximately 1500.

Ambassador of the EU and Head of the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka David Daly recently said that while the EU was encouraged by the positive approaches of the new National Government related to compliance to International Human Rights and related laws, the progress made by Sri Lanka in these aspects will be subject to stringent evaluation by the EU before the restoration once again of these facilities.

He therefore, requested the exporter community to prevail upon the government the importance of making good progress related to these aspects for the economic benefit of Sri Lanka.