Top Apparel Manufacturers in Sri Lanka recently reiterated that the European Union’s (EU) generalized scheme of preferences plus (GSP+) is critical for the future growth of exports and expressed hope that the government will work towards retaining the concession. The apparel sector contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 16 percent and its share in total exports is 43 percent.
“Since the past five years, the major part of the export growth, which took us to over $5 billion came from the EU brands and markets. It’s a very important part of our current growth strategy,” Hirdaramani Group director Aroon Hidramani said at a webinar. He pointed out that it is important to closely engage with the discussions over the GSP+ and have the necessary support for each stakeholder.
The event titled ‘Be inspired by the pandemic: Resilient corporate success of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry was organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM).
In 2019, Sri Lanka recorded $5.3 billion in exports, but it dropped sharply to $4.1 billion last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was also noted that the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and other trade bodies have already engaged with the government and some EU associations to see how Sri Lanka can work closely to mitigate some of the concerns that have been raised.
The manufacturers also insisted that the government also needs to explore further trade agreements, pointing out that 70 percent of the total apparel exports of Bangladesh are through trade preferences.
Over a million, or 16 percent of the workforce in the country, are engaged in the apparel sector.