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Lanka targets $50 b in exports by 2020

Notwithstanding the global trade decline, Sri Lanka's apparel sector aims at a five-fold increase in exports with the help of China's knitting sector.


From left: Deputy High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Arindam Bagchi, Chairperson and CEO, EDB, Indira Malwatte, State Minister of Strategic Development and International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe with an exhibitor at the Intex South Asia exhibition in Colombo last week.

"We hope to increase apparel exports five-fold to $ 20 bn and by 2020 we aim at $50 bn in national exports," State Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe told guests at the launch of Intex South Asia, the international textile sourcing show of South Asia, in Colombo last week.

The exhibition at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre, brought together textile manufacturers and exporters of yarn, fabric and clothing accessories from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Over 50 Indian suppliers were also present. The EDB was co-organiser of the event.

"Sri Lanka's apparel sector has done well even in bad times. Years ago this sector had a value addition of only 20% but now adds 60% and we aim to increase this to 80% soon," said the State Minister.

"We hope to open 5,000 factories in five years in 45 industrial zones to enhance our exports. We are holding discussions to have the GSP plus restored and sign trade agreements with other countries."

Apparels which constitute 40 percent of Sri Lanka's exports, stood at $ 4.5 billion in 2013 and increased by 9% to $ 4.9 billion in 2014. From January-September 2015, apparel exports of all types grossed $3.6 bn.

Chairman, Exhibition Affairs Committee of Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business, David Li, representing China Knitting Industrial Association, Beijing said, "The Intex Colombo event has caught the attention of the China Knitting Industrial Association (CKIA) and a delegation from CKIA may visit Colombo next year.

The delegation will first travel to New Delhi. This is the first such specialised apparel delegation from China to Sri Lanka. CKIA would explore the possibility of tieing up with Sri Lanka's lingerie manufacturers. CKIA members supply premium knitting material for top global lingerie makers.

CKIA has 500 mainland manufacturers as members, with direct contacts to another 5,000 knitting enterprises across the mainland and supports manufacturing of apparel, home and industrial textiles.

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