The Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association (SLASA) and its partner Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters (SLCGE) have stated that they are confident that they will be able to meet 2015’s target of export revenue amounting to US$5.0 billion.
Rohan de Silva, manager of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters, said that the clothing sector is quite eager to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan. De Silva said that if the agreements with Japan as well as China come through, Sri Lanka will easily be able to reach its export target of US$8.5 billion in the year 2020.
Presently, Vietnam takes care of most of the demand for garments in China. Even though the China market is not very keen on trading of garments, Sri Lanka has all the potential to enter the China market and make a place for itself by selling better products in terms of quality. Rohan de Silva also said that if it was possible to get the GSP Plus facility back, Sri Lanka’s target would be much easier to achieve. He also stated that despite the absence of GSP Plus, the apparel industry achieved the US$4.8 billion target in November last year.
An official with the Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters stated that while negotiating with the European Union, the economic interests of the nation should be put at the utmost front. The official said that the loss of the status of GSP Plus adversely impacted the economic development of the country since countries within the European Union hold nearly 60 per cent of Sri Lanka’s export market.