Due to the withdrawal of the EU GSP Plus (GSP+) trade concession and the ongoing recession in the largest apparel export markets such as the US and the EU, Sri Lankan garment exporters are eyeing on new and emerging markets for exports.
According to the data released by the Sri Lankan Apparel Exporters Association (SAEA), the clothing exports for 2012 were 5.3 percent lower than the exports in 2011.
Speaking to fibre2fashion, chairman of SAEA, Mr. Yohan Lawrence said, “We are working with the Export Development Board to develop new markets, encourage differentiation of product and to identify specific areas of competence since our exports have fallen due to the withdrawal of EU GSP Plus status and recession in both the EU and the US, which are the two largest export markets for Sri Lankan garments.”
The new GSP Plus ensures exporters from developing countries pay lower duties on some or all products exported to the EU market. GSP+ status also gives the customers a lower price as they will not have any duty on products made from fabrics of SAARC origin.
According to him, several garment buyers are shifting their orders to countries including Cambodia and Bangladesh since those countries offer a more competitive price due to their duty concessions. “Some of these are irrespective of their source of fabric,” he adds.
The European Union suspended the GSP plus tariff concession for Sri Lanka in August 2010.