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Sri Lanka wants to diversify beyond RMG

Sri Lanka feels apparel exports are no longer viable and that it is time to look at other growth areas that promise better returns. The country is looking at production of electronic items such as mobile phone accessories and robotic machine spares since China has decided to use around 4000 robotic machines for production.

Another profitable area would be parts of electronic and electrical goods and other modern equipment which are needed by Japan and which are manufactured in countries such as Thailand.

With this in view, Sri Lanka is planning to introduce technology in schools soon. Sri Lanka is convinced in RMG, competing with countries such as Bangladesh where wages are lower is futile. While productivity and speed are Sri Lanka's hallmarks in the current fast fashion landscape, its garment makers are acutely aware that changes are afoot. Whole industries have been wiped out or completely changed because of technology. Competition from countries like Vietnam could deal a blow to the South Asian nation’s apparel export industry.

While Sri Lanka has been successful in establishing and growing its apparel manufacturing industry, more can be done to realize its potential as a regional hub and to continue to boost opportunities, especially for women and the poor.