The European Union has agreed to accelerate moves to lower trade tariffs on clothing imported from tsunami-hit Sri Lanka.

A special committee of 25 EU governments on Friday said they would fast-track a European Commission proposal to reform its Generalised System of Preferences, or GSP, tariff system to 1 April, from 1 July.
Under the initiative, Sri Lanka will benefit "from duty free access to the EU for all its GSP products, including textiles" the European Commission said in a statement.

"India, Indonesia and Thailand will also benefit from improved market access conditions," it added.

The committee has agreed to grant Sri Lanka GSP-plus status for its textile and clothing products - which would reduce to zero the tariff on clothing imported into the EU.

Moves to accelerate the proposal's adoption still needs formal approval from the European Parliament and a final go-ahead from EU governments.