Since the UK is the main market for Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it is important for Sri Lanka to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post Brexit period.
Once the transition period ends on 31st December this year, the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff which will apply until st December, 2020 and UK Generalized Scheme of Preferences (UK GSP) will apply from January 2021.
The Department of International Trade of the UK has announced that EU-GSP eligible countries will be able to get the same tariff preferences they were entitled to earlier through the UK GSP from 1st January, 2021.
Being an EU GSP+ beneficiary country, Sri Lanka will continue to be eligible to receive the same preferential benefits under EU GSP+ for the UK as per their proposed Enhanced Framework replicating EU GSP plus. The proposed Enhanced Framework of the UK replicating EU GSP+ criteria are expected to be enforced on 01.01.2021 for a 3-year period from 2021 to 2023.
Further to the information received by the Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK, the current EU GSP Rules of Origin criteria will be applicable till 31.12.2023 and the exemptions of the EU-GSP Rules i.e. Bilateral/ Regional/ Cross-regional and extended cumulation will be available in a different terminology. A beneficiary country intending to apply for extended or cross regional cumulation has the option to submit a joint application to the UK authority once the Enhanced Framework is enforced.
With regard to the proof of origin of exported goods, the Registered Exporters System (REX system), which is in use at present, will be discontinued from 31.12.2020. However, a similar self-declaration form or a Certificate of Origin (COC) Form A will be introduced by the UK authority. More details and guidelines on the COC will be issued shortly by the UK authorities.
During the aforementioned 3-year period (2021-2023), the UK will review the eligibility criteria, rules of origin criteria and guidelines to develop its bespoke preferential scheme. The stakeholders too will be consulted in this process.