Sri Lanka’s apparel exports increased 10.10 per cent year-on-year in November 2018. Exports to the US increased 16.58 per cent while to the EU increased marginally by 3.01 per cent in the period. Total exports during the January to November period grew 4.92 per cent.
With November export results, Sri Lanka hopes to surpass the US $5billion magical figure for the first time in history. Cumulative apparel exports to the US from January to November increased 5.61 per cent while exports to the EU increased 4.13 per cent. Overall exports to other countries too increased 5.11 per cent.
The industry expects around four to five per cent year on year growth in apparel exports for 2019. This is based on the assumption that there will be no hard Brexit and there will be a negotiated Brexit.
Apart from Bangladesh and Vietnam, some African nations such as Ethiopia are also emerging as major apparel exporters to the US and EU, as they have the capacity to manufacture garments at a low cost while meeting the sustainability standards as demanded by US and EU retailers. Sri Lanka is not able to fully capitalise on the US-China trade war, as Sri Lankan manufacturers don’t have the capacity to cater to the export orders that China is losing.