Apparel exports from Sri Lanka to the EU are growing year-on-year. In June 2017, the country regained GSP Plus from the EU. The facility was reinstated following Sri Lanka’s positive steps towards restoring human rights in the country.
It took one-and-a-half months for the ratification of the agreement with the EU for the market expansion to commence in earnest. The expansion fructified in the month of July. From July 2017 Sri Lanka’s export figures grew 10.34 per cent year-on-year. Currently, growth figures stand at 15 per cent for the Sri Lankan apparel sector. Manufacturers have developed a positive outlook on future orders. They feel the apparel sector can grow by 20 per cent or more by June 2018.
In the previous year, Sri Lanka had registered a fall of 2.91 per cent in apparel receipts from the EU. Contributing factors to this decline included Brexit and other such political upheavals that took place in Europe. This was also compounded by the downsizing of operations by European department stores in placing apparel orders from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's export basket has not changed much since the 1990s. If Sri Lanka is to substantially increase export revenues, diversifying to new sectors is the key to success.