Sri Lanka apparel exporters look East as Western markets slow down

Jan 23, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan apparel exporters are looking for new markets like India, China and Japan as demand slows down in established markets where recession has begun to bite, an industry official said. Ajith Dias, chairman, Joint Apparel Association Forum, said they want to market high value garments in India with a delegation from JAAF and the Export Development Board visiting Mumbai next week.

“India is one place we’re targeting,” he said. “It is very difficult to do business there; the bureaucracy makes it almost impossible to export.”

Exporters say India’s huge population and proximity to the island makes it an obvious choice of market as demand in traditional markets slows down owing to recession.

“We’ve done about 4-5 million dollars worth of apparel exports in 2007 (to India) – not a lot but an improvement from the 1.5 million dollars the previous year,” Dias said.

“We decided to tackle the emerging markets like India and China, and also Japan, which although not an emerging market is an interesting market.”

“We realise the future is in these areas.”

Dias said the industry is looking for new markets as demand has slowed down in traditional markets like the European