Home » Sri Lanka begins talks to join OACPS along with potential EU FTA

Sri Lanka begins talks to join OACPS along with potential EU FTA

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While aiming to reach a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EU), the Sri Lanka Government will strive to join the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

This was disclosed by Sri Lanka’s Presidential Envoy to Europe and the Commonwealth Niranjan de Silva Deva Aditya (Nirj Deva) in Brussels stating that he has started discussions for Sri Lanka to join the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

Nirj Deva, the former EU Parliamentarian and Vice President of the EU Parliament’s Development Committee for 15 years, called on the EU and the Sri Lankan Government to work together to boost ties between the two parties.

As a consequence of these discussions, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should and could be reached with the EU to coincide with the EU-India FTA, which has not yet been made public. Nirj Deva stated.

He disclosed that discussions were underway with the European Parliament (EU) about an expanded GSP+ that would include the five extra requirements that the EU wants.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium and the EU, Grace Asirwatham is doing a great job on this, even though she works alone in the Sri Lanka Embassy to our second largest trading partner,” he added.

He said that joining the OACPS has substantial environmental, social, and economic benefits for the country, as it seeks to strengthen ties between the island nation and African and Caribbean states.

Also, if Sri Lanka joins, it will have a better chance of receiving assistance from other organisations, such as the EU.

Formerly known as the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States or ACP, OACPS was established in 1975 via the Georgetown Agreement.

The organisation’s primary goals are sustainable development and poverty reduction among its member nations.

It consists of 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific governments, all of which, save Cuba, are parties to the Cotonou Agreement, commonly known as the “ACP-EC Partnership Agreement”.

There are 48 Sub-Saharan African nations, 16 Caribbean, and 15 Pacific.

During the discussions, Nirj Deva presented the Sri Lankan President’s report on the effects of a potential global famine and a lack of food and fertilizer on Sri Lanka to 64 of Parliament’s senior MPs, as well as measures to expand trade and investment with Sri Lanka.

To qualify for substantial funding from the UN Green Climate Fund and EU funds, Sri Lanka should request the EU to temporarily classify it as a low-income nation, he claimed.

“Whereas middle or lower middle-income country status, which Sri Lanka attained when her GDP was nearly Rs. 14 trillion and the dollar was Rs. 170, is now unsupportable when the economy has contracted to less than Rs. 11 trillion and the dollar has shot up to nearly Rs. 360, he added.

He said “A strong case should be made to temporarily assign Sri Lanka to Low Income Country (LIC) status when she can qualify for huge amounts of free grants and cheap concessionary loans (banned for middle income countries) including the EU’s Anything but Arms (EBA) free trade agreements which exist for LIC including Bangladesh.

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