Sri Lanka’s apparel exports registered exponential growth to reach US$ 6 billion in revenue by the end of the year continuing with the growth momentum recorded last year. Last year, apparel exports topped US$ 5 billion for the first time in the country’s history. The apparel and textile industry contributes six percent to Sri Lanka’s GDP while accounting for 40 percent of the country’s exports.
However, apparel export earnings have declined in December by 1.71 percent (YoY) to US$ 460 million due to a slowdown in key EU and US markets.
The country’s apparel industry targets six percent YoY growth in exports this year, moving ahead with plans to set up a 200-acre fabric park with foreign investments in collaboration with the Board of Investment in the Eastern province, eyeing to attract large-scale orders by reducing lead times with locally-sourced fabrics.
Considering the slowdown in growth in the mature clothing markets, the Sri Lankan apparel industry has been planning to diversify its export base in BRIC countries, particularly to India and China. Industry leaders emphasise that the proposed FTA with China and the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement with India are crucial to break into the Chinese and Indian markets. However, Sri Lanka’s FTA negotiations have come to a standstill at present.