As per Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters’ Association (SLAEA) chairman Felix Fernando, Sri Lankan Embassy to the European Union (EU) in Brussels recently submitted a proposal to obtain GSP+ concessions on fabric imported from Indonesia. Sri Lanka was hopeful that agreements to obtain GSP+ concessions for South Korean and Indonesian fabric could be signed by the end of 2018. At the moment, apparel manufacturers could only get GSP+ concessions on fabric woven in Sri Lanka, the EU and SAARC countries.
According to the Central Bank, from January to September 2018, Sri Lanka imported textiles and textile articles worth $2 billion, up 4.7 per cent against the same period last year. The country has a great opportunity to expand its apparel exports, as China is expected to leave a $50 billion vacuum in the global apparel market from next year.
According to Joint Apparel Association Forum data, apparel exports to China were worth $60.2 million, contributing to only 1 per cent of total apparel exports from Sri Lanka. Exports to China in 2016 were $66 million.