Sri Lanka losing ground in US apparel market: Martin Trust

Oct 13, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is losing ground to China and Bangladesh in the United States apparel market, but the country can retain its place in the top end by banking on non-price competitive strengths, the island’s top US apparel buyer said. “Sri Lanka has not recovered from China’s surge in the US apparel market,” Martin Trust, head of US-based Brandot International told a business forum in Colombo, organized by Sri Lanka’s embassy in Washington and US authorities.

“Competition in the region is growing faster and getting smarter.”

Trust said in 2003 he predicted that China apparel exports would grow to about 20 billion US dollars now.

The latest data showed that China exported 23 billion US dollars a year to the US and had a 41 percent market share by 2009. Sri Lanka however exported more apparel on a per capita basis.

“In the same period Sri Lanka’s exports have declined about 28 percent,” he said. “Not exactly something to be proud of, but that’s the way the world is. That is about half a billion dollars a year in lost revenues in the last few years.”

China has meanwhile increased exports 163 percent to the US since 2004, he said.

Lagging Behind

Trust said firms like Pacific Textile Holding a