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Abstract

The ready-made garment industry plays an important role in Sri Lanka both in terms of export earnings and poverty alleviation through employment generation. Following the removal of GSP Plus by EU in 2010 on the basis of alleged human right violations by the Sri Lankan government during the last stage of the civil war in 2009 and after, it currently faces serious challenges in exporting to the EU, its major market. Given the important role of the ready-made garment industry in poverty alleviation through employment generation, the impact of removal of GSP plus on the poor is examined in this paper. The empirical results of this study demonstrate that poverty and income inequality are expected to be exacerbated in Sri Lanka as a result of the removal of GSP Plus by the EU using non-economic reasons such as human rights violation. The results are also relevant for the renewed emphasis on trade preferences as a potential instrument for the Millennium Development Goals and the debate on how trade preferences are to be designed to maximise their effectiveness in stimulating a manufacturing supply response.