June 27, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is seeing a surge in demand for apparels abroad which may allow the sector to meet industry targets earlier than planned, the island’s largest single garment exporter said. Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Export Forum, an industry body has forecasted apparel exports to reach 5.0 billion dollars by 2015, from the 3.4 billion dollars in 2010.
“But looking at the growth for the first three months this year it may be that we might reach that number much earlier than that,” Ashroff Omar chairman of Brandix Lanka, a privately held firm which is the largest single apparel exporter in the island.
Last year the firm’s export revenues topped 400 million US dollars, he said. The firm has 35,000 workers in Sri Lanka and India.
In the first quarter of 2011 Sri Lanka’s apparel exports surged 74 percent to 1,225 million US dollars, despite earlier fears that loss of trade preferences to the European Union would hit sales.
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The higher demand was partly due to buyers shifting orders from Bangladesh which was hit by unrest, which may be temporary. But other factors are also working in Sri Lanka’s favour.
“Chinese costs have gone up. The Middle East is no more a major suppl