Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters (SLCGE) and its partner Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association (SLASA) expressed confidence of achieving this yearâ€™s government target of USD five billion in export revenue.
According to Sri Lanka garment exporters, they can easily achieve the export target of USD 8.5 B in 2020 if the country is able to sign the agreement with China and tap the Japanese market. The Chinese market is at present catered to by Vietnam, and Sri Lanka has all the opportunities to penetrate the Chinese market though better quality products though the Chinese were not keen on garments.
SLCGE Manager, Administration, Rohan de Silva told that the apparel sector is keen on signing a Free Trade Agreement with China and at least a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan. If they could get back the GSP Plus facility, their target would be much easier adding that even without GSP Plus, the sector achieved a target of USD 4.8 bn last November.
The loss of GSP Plus status was a big blow to the countryâ€™s economic development as the EU countries account for about 60 percent of the countryâ€™s export market. The American and European markets are the main buyers with the latter superseding the former in recent years.
The hope and expectation are that the Sri Lankan government would give certain assurances that would enable the EU to continue with the GSP Plus concession without compromising the conditions that are laid down by the EU. May be guarantees of future compliance is the way forward for the Sri Lankan government. Economic interests of the country must be foremost in the countryâ€™s international relations and international diplomacy.
Speaking about the partnership, SLCGE president, Bandula Fernando said that the bi-annual programme which took place for the third time mainly focuses on facilitating their members to meet the key buyers operating in Sri Lanka and to prove their capability of producing high quality garments for export purpose.
Big players in the trade have direct links with these buyers and even operate their own offices overseas. Thus, they are conducting this event to provide ' members this opportunity with minimum cost.'
The Chamber works mainly on behalf of the Small and Medium sector, for their rights and benefits.
It was solely due to the representations made by the Chamber that the government introduced provisions in the rules for the allocation of textile quotas.
Chamberâ€™s vice president A P C Mendis said that they are expecting more investment opportunities especially from US and U K buyers. He strongly believes that the country with a new government with a better think-tank could do much more in the future. Also if corruption is eliminated the country could achieve much more.
An Export Development Board official said that with an impressive partnership portfolio Sri Lanka showcases the best of technology in the garment industry, including the worldâ€™s first eco-friendly Green Garment Factory.
She said that buyers placing orders have the choice of selecting fabric and accessories from any part of the world to be brought to Sri Lanka for conversion into finished apparel. There is also an advantage in sourcing from Sri Lanka due to its central location, which provides the shortest shipping times to Europe.
For those who are concerned not only with the quality of the product but also the values of the manufacturers, Sri Lanka will definitely be the ultimate choice.
The Sri Lankaâ€‚Apparelâ€‚Sourcing Association was formed in 1993 with the main objective of promoting and fostering the growth of the garment industry in Sri Lanka. A majority of the Associationâ€™s membership has been carrying out operations in Sri Lanka for more than 15 years, marketing the country and its merchandise effectively. The Association is also a strong lobby for the industry.
The members of the Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association also represent international prestigious brand names and are responsible for the generation of approximately 70% of Sri Lankaâ€™s exports of textiles and apparels. Their membership represents all major global importers and retailers from the USA, EU, Australia and Japan.
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