EU considers lifting fish export ban on Sri Lanka

Colombo, Jan 30 (IANS) The European Commission has offered Sri Lanka assistance to meet regulatory requirements for an early lifting of the ban on fish exports to the EU, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said Thursday.

“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 programmes,” the foreign ministry said.
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, was in Brussels this week in an attempt to have the ban on Sri Lankan fish exports to EU lifted, Xinhua reported.
He met Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and members of the European Parliament and also held talks with the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.
The discussions focused on strengthening Sri Lanka’s relations with the EU and Belgium, the steps Sri Lanka has taken and would take to comply with international fishing regulations and the process of re-qualifying for tariff concessions, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said.
The EU had imposed the ban after Sri Lanka continued to violate international regulations on deep-sea fishing.
Sri Lanka, under the previous government, was given time to remedy the situation before the ban took effect this month, but the government had failed to meet the requirements.