Sri Lanka apparel exporters losing orders, market share

Nov 06, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s apparel export industry faces a tough year next year with slowing demand in key markets and the likely loss of GSP+ duty free exports to Europe, a senior official said. “I think we’re heading for somewhat of a crisis next year and the industry is gearing itself for it,” said Ajit Dias, chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry umbrella body.

“We’re definitely going to face serious issues next year. It will probably be one of the worst years we have had in a long time.”

Exports were already slowing down in key markets and top buyers were under pressure and could possibly reduce orders, Dias told the ‘Apparel South Asia Conference 2008’.

The conference has drawn South Asian apparel manufacturers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, a powerful manufacturing bloc for global apparel needs that faces problems like low productivity and lack of modern technology.

Dias said the 3.2 billion apparel export industry is the largest contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy, accounting for 10 percent of gross domestic products and employing 270,000 people.

“We’re growing somewhat slowly now,” he said Wednesday.

Exports to the US,