The European Commission has offered Sri Lanka assistance in meeting the regulatory requirements that would enable an early lifting of the ban on fish exports to the European Union.
The European Commission has assured to help Sri Lanka meet the EU requirements when Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweera met with the officials of the European Commission in Brussels.
Minister Samaraweera Thursday concluded a two-day official visit to Brussels where he held talks with the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries, Mr. Karmenu Vella, and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr. Neven Mimica.
He also met with the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Didier Reynders and members of the European Parliament.
Discussions focused on strengthening Sri Lanka's relations with the European Union and Belgium, the steps Sri Lanka has taken and will take to comply with international fishing regulations and the process of requalifying for GSP+ tariff concessions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The European Commission October 2014 proposed to ban imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka, the second biggest exporter to the bloc, due to Sri Lanka's failure to demonstrate that it sufficiently addressed illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The ban went into effect from 14 January 2015.
Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU with Euro 74 million of imports in 2013.
During the meeting with the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, the European Commission has offered Sri Lanka assistance in meeting with the requirements for lifting the ban.
"During the fruitful meetings the European Commission offered Sri Lanka assistance in meeting the regulatory requirements that would enable an early lifting of the ban on fish exports to the EU and displayed strong interest in expanding socio-economic ties and development programs," the Foreign Ministry said.
Minister Samaraweera was accompanied by Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries, Mr. Nimal Hettiarachchi, and former Ambassador to the EU, Mr. P.M. Amza.