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US GSP trade programme to restart in April

The United States’ GSP trade incentive programme for Sri Lanka will become active again on April 22, the US Embassy said Friday.

“This will open our market up even more to Sri Lankan goods and create jobs,” said James Russo, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Colombo.

The programme had lapsed on December 31, 2017, after Congress failed to re-authorize the law. The GSP scheme for developing countries, which gives preferential duties to certain products, was reinstated in a budget bill on March 23.

Russo said US importers who brought in Sri Lankan exports in the time in between could claim customs duties retroactively.

One hundred and twenty countries, including Sri Lanka and the Maldives, regained GSP support with the March spending bill.

The US is the largest market for Sri Lankan exports, taking in about $3 billion worth of goods last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. About 75 percent of those exports are clothing items. The re-authorised GSP scheme runs through December 31, 2020.