Currently, 40 and 30 percent of Sri Lankan garments are exported to the US and Europe, respectively and there is a slowdown in these markets. There is an urgent need to explore new markets.
This was stated by Indika Liyanahewage, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association at its 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Liyanahewage observed that Sri Lankan clothing exporters should seek new export markets like India, East Asian countries, and Japan to sustain and expand garment exports from the island country.
Japanese imports of garments amount to US $26 billion annually, out of which Sri Lankan share is only $35 million dollars, so there is a big opportunity to expand market share,” he noted.
He added that Least Developed Countries (LDC) benefit from duty-free benefits, but Sri Lanka does not qualify for the status. So, there is an urgent need to sign free trade agreements (FTA) with countries and regions.
“The Sri Lankan clothing sector is very compliant and follows global regulations. Additionally, Sri Lankan apparel has the ‘Garments Without Guilt’ tag, which indicates the regulations that are followed,” he added.
According to the Chairman, the duty-free export quota for exports to Sri Lanka is 8 million garment pieces. He urged India and Sri Lanka to sign an FTA, which could boost shipments of apparel.