Sri Lanka will not qualify for some of the GSP-Plus preferences if and when they get such preferences when UK is out of EU, according to Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies Dr. Saman Kelegama. Sri Lankanâ€™s 35 percent of exports to the EU goes to the UK market and 40 percent of textile and apparel exports to the EU goes to the UK market.
Kelegama said that the redeeming factors are that there is a two year exit period and during that time, if Sri Lanka could work out a bilateral deal with the UK on the basis of Sri Lankaâ€™s Commonwealth membership, that could offset whatever preferential market access Sri Lanka loses in the UK market due to Brexit.
If UK is not a part of the EU, Sri Lanka will lose the duty free benefit and they will have to renegotiate a FTA with the UK, but they will have to do a whole series of FTAs with European nations and others before they get to them. But that will certainly take a long time.
In relation to foreign investment, Brexit has already weakened the British pound. Thus, UK investors may consider diverting their investment to countries like Sri Lanka and other such countries where they expect to get a better return.
The UK will no longer be required to tie-up its Overseas Development Assistance to the EUâ€™s rules, regulations and directives. It is expected that there will be more direct financial assistance from the UK to commonwealth countries like Sri Lanka as a strategic measure.
On Brexit, Kelegama said that the UK will no longer be obliged to offer quota-based jobs to citizens of the EU.
This will open up the job market for skilled and semi-skilled labour from elsewhere. Overall there will be more job openings for Commonwealth country citizens, including temporary workers. In other words, there will be more job opportunities in the UK market for Sri Lankans.
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