From January to November 2018, Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew five per cent compared to the same period of 2017. Apparel exports to the United States during the same period increased 5.6 per cent and to the European Union it went up four per cent.
Sri Lanka’s total apparel exports were up 10 per cent in November compared to a year ago. Exports to the US in November increased 16.5 per cent from a year ago; exports to the European Union, which declined in August and September, to go up once again in November by 2.4 per cent. Following the restoration of GSP Plus, Sri Lanka’s textile and garment exports to the European Union have shown higher growth. With Sri Lanka now on track to be classified as an upper-middle income country for the second year in 2018, there is a possibility that the European Union would withdraw the GSP facility in 2021.
A country which is classified as upper-middle income for three consecutive years is no longer be eligible for GSP Plus. 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.