Sri Lanka's target of achieving five billion USD in apparel exports by 2015 is on course, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) Chairman, Rohan Abeykoon, has said.
Addressing the Association's Annual General Meeting, Mr. Abeykoon said if the export figures and forecasts are based on precision, Sri Lanka's apparel exports would almost touch the four billion USD mark by close of this year itself.
The figures for the period of January to October 2011 show a 45 percent year-on-year rise in apparel exports, which is reflective of the relevance and perceptiveness of the industry, he said.
He added that the country's apparel industry has performed extremely well in spite of global recession that hit the world some year's back, the debt crisis currently confronting Sri Lanka's key apparel export markets, and the loss of GSP Plus facility.
Speaking about high utility costs like the power tariffs, he said that their requests for reducing the high utility cost burden have not met with any response till date, and this is in spite of the apparel industry enduring almost a 25 to 40 percent rise in the cost of electricity alone under pretext of a rise of just eight percent to subsidize general customers. He added that this indicates how the interests of the entrepreneurs, who are looked upon as drivers of economic growth, are overlooked.
Talking about the possibility of increasing exports, Mr. Abeykoon said several apparel importers are strategising to explore new sourcing destinations to shift away from China, and hence there is a scope for Sri Lankan apparel industry to gain from the situation.
He stated that China accounts for about 35 percent of the world's overall apparel trade, which is significantly higher as compared to Sri Lanka, which has just one percent share in global apparel trade, and hence there is a scope for the country to boost its exports, as importers are exploring new sourcing destinations.
However, labour scarcity could prove to be a great impediment and the industry needs to find out some long-lasting solution to the issue if it really means to attain the five billion USD target in exports by 2015, the SLAEA Chairman said.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India