Apparel cracks $ 5 b target


Apparel cracks $ 5 b target

Updated on : 25-01-2019

Apparel cracks $ 5 b target

  • Sets new goal of hitting $8 b by 2025 with 6% annual growth  

  • US and EU continue to be largest buyers of SL apparel 

  • Apparel contributes 6% of GDP, employs 350,000 workers 

  • Says trade agreements important to access emerging markets of India, China and Brazil 

  • Wants effective partnership with Govt. on policy making


Sri Lanka’s apparel industry has benchmarked itself at new heights, surpassing $5 billion in export earnings in 2018, and is setting its eyes on hitting $8 billion by 2025.  

The total earnings from export of apparel products falling under HS chapters 61, 62 and 63 amounted to $5050 million in 2018, registering an increase of 4.79% compared to the export turnover of $4819 million in 2017. The USA and the EU continued to be the two largest buyers of Sri Lankan garments, in both volume and value terms, the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) said in a statement. 

“This achievement is in line with the second strategic plan that was prepared for the industry and this feat was achieved despite many external challenges. The consistency in the approach of the industry to be a reliable partner in ensuring in time delivery, guaranteed product quality, speed to market, ethical practices and innovative solutions has created the environment to achieve this extraordinary feat,” it added.

The Sri Lankan Textile and Apparel industry employs nearly 350,000 workers directly and twice as many indirectly. Total employment is estimated to be in the region of 15% of the country’s workforce. The majority of this workforce are women from regional areas, and Sri Lanka Apparel considers them as the most valuable asset and the backbone of the industry.

The contribution of the textile and apparel industry to the GDP is in the region of 6%, based on re-based GDP estimates. Given the development of the other sectors, it is very unlikely that any other manufactured export sector will come up to this level of performance in the short to mid-term. Therefore, the apparel industry will continue to influence the level of economic development in the mid-term.

“The desire of the apparel industry is to reach a target of $ 8 billion by 2025, which requires a 6% annual compound growth, which is a very ambitious target. While the industry by itself will take all possible steps to meet capacity, technology, and resource issues, the envisaged market access programs through regional, multi-lateral, or bi-lateral trade arrangements are also extremely important, particularly with emerging markets such as India, China, and Brazil. Sri Lankan apparel is looking forward to raising the bar to the next level with effective public-private partnerships with the Government on the policy making,” the statement noted. 

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