Prabhash Subasinghe, the newly-appointed Chairman of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), met with the nation’s leading apparel exporters last Friday (17) at the Board premises.
At the outset, Subasinghe expressed his gratitude to the Sri Lankan apparel exporter community for their yeoman contribution and commitment towards the country’s economic development and shared his satisfaction with on the noteworthy performance of the sector during 2019 in spite of the challenges faced.
He mentioned that the EDB always stands committed towards the growth of the Sri Lankan apparel industry which is the main contributor to the export earnings of the country.
During the discussion, exporters sought the assistance of the EDB to enhance the access for the Sri Lankan apparel products to the Indian market by lobbying for the removal of Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement’s quota restrictions on Sri Lankan-made garments.
Subasinghe stated that he has already discussed this with the Department of Commerce and EDB will follow up with them on the future cause of action.
The industry stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment to make Sri Lanka the hub for the global apparel industry by managing front office operations as the apparel industry in Sri Lanka has more or less reached its full capacity.
Furthermore, they pointed out the significance of developing a local fabric base for the apparel industry, and in that regard highlighted the importance in expediting the proposed dedicated manufacturing zone in Eravur, which intends to attract manufacturers of textiles.
The delegation also praised the efforts of the EDB in supporting the country’s SME apparel exporters in respect of compliance improvement and market penetration. The industry representatives elaborated on their plans to project Sri Lanka as a sustainable manufacturing destination for apparel by highlighting the industry’s excellent labour practices and carbon-neutrality in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the Sri Lankan apparel industry in the global marketplace. They sought the support of the EDB in this regard.
The delegation included Chairman and Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), MAS, Brandix, Hirdaramani, EAM Maliban Textiles, and Star Garments, Original Apparel.