Sri Lankan apparel sector to compete in emerging markets

April 23, 2019 - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, with an export target of $8 billion by 2025, is keen on expanding its global footprint by aggressively competing in emerging markets and widening its presence in non-traditional countries, according to Tuli Cooray, secretary general of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF). Last year, Sri Lankan apparel exports grew by 5 per cent.

An annual compound growth rate of more than 6 per cent is expected this year.

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers will differentiate products with quality standards and excellent product delivery and try for a bigger share in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil, Sri Lankan media reports quoted Cooray as saying.

The apparel industry contributes 7 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and 53 per cent of export earnings.

Cooray said that 12 per cent of the country’s apparel exports go to other continents.

Availability of skilled labour is another problem as the Sri Lankan society doesn’t recognise this sector’s contribution to the growth of the economy, Cooray lamented.

JAAF has been conducting programs to raise the awareness about the importance of this industry, its benefits and opportunities, he said.

The government is trying to address many issues like availability of credit, skilled labour and finance, but these will not deliver immediate results, he said, adding that the present level of trade reform agenda will not affect the export industry but the domestic market. (DS)