Sri Lankan apparel industry has remained unaffected by the financial crisis that has gripped some of the Western nations, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin has said.
Addressing the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters' Association (SLAEA), he said in spite of the debt crisis affecting some of the Western economies, UK still remains Sri Lanka's second-most leading trading partner in terms of volume and added that the prospects for mutual trade between the two economies remains positive.
He stated that Sri Lanka can establish itself as a logistics centre for garment producers all across the region.
He revealed that there are more than 100 firms in Sri Lanka that have a UK connection as they have clothing majors like Tesco, Next, Marks and Spencer and Triumph as their importers. Moreover, UK firms continue to view Sri Lanka as a key sourcing destination for importing premium quality clothing at reasonable prices.
According to Mr. Rankin, in present era of economic downturn, retailers based in UK and elsewhere would be eager than ever to greatly cut on their costs. He expressed optimism that producers and buyers would be able to work in close association with each other to boost productivity, reduce lead times, streamline logistics and to get innovative.
Sri Lanka exported apparels worth one billion USD to the UK during 2010, while its imports to the UK totalled around US$ 186 million.
Making a mention of the discord over the GSP Plus facility under the EU's Generalised system of Preferences (GSP), he said Sri Lanka can still benefit if it manages to regain the concession depending on the Government's decision to meet the necessary requirements and re-applying for the benefit.
Lauding the high standards of the Sri Lankan apparel industry, Mr. Rankin said increased automation and enhanced use of Computer Aided Manufacturing and Design machines are likely to steer the industry's long-term sustainability.
The new emphasis on design is of vital importance, he said, and added that he was much pleased to witness the development in the domestic design process of Sri Lanka with exclusive brands.
Mr. Rankin hailed the Sri Lankan Government's attempts aimed at improving the business environment by trying to cope with issues at hand and by restructuring its own system. He said that UK firms are anticipating of the Government to bring in stability and confidence, introduce tax incentives, create higher transparency in Government contracts and give surety that their investments would not be made to depend on arbitrariness.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India