EU’s decision to allow fabric sourcing from ASEAN countries to benefit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association Chairman, Felix Fernando has said the country’s apparel exports are likely to receive a significant boost through a European Union (EU) decision to allow the sourcing of fabric from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia as the industry aims to hit US$ 5 billion in earnings this year.
Fernando has made this observation at the 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was also attended by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
According to Fernando, the industry was grateful and delighted by the restoration of GSP+.
“To maximise the use of GSP+, SLAEA with JAAF requested the Department of Commerce to explore the possibilities of indentifying the possibility of making a joint request to the EU between Sri Lanka and selected ASEAN countries to agree on cross regional accumulation for fabric. We reliably understand that the EU has agreed to grant this benefit and we have selected Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia to start with. It is our sincere wish that the Government will support this effort as it will give a huge advantage to apparel exporters,” Fernando has been quoted as saying at the AGM.
Fernando has noted that from 2004 to 2011 apparel exports grew by 50% but over the last six years they have stagnated due to the loss of GSP+.
However, in July, August and September 2017 exports have been robust and it is clear that GSP+ is having an effect.
Nevertheless, Fernando has predicted that the overall exports are expected to surpass the US$ 5 billion mark for the first time due to the boost given by preferential access to the European Union.
“With the uncertainties around Brexit, Sri Lankan authorities need to talk with their UK counterparts as we are not sure if both parties will continue to provide the same trade facilities. Due to these uncertainties it is imperative that we consider other EU countries, especially Germany, where our presence is limited.”
Fernando has also called for assistance to link Sri Lanka’s apparel industry with the fashion and import industries in Germany to boost engagement and increase exports.
The government of Sri Lanka in the Budget 2018 has aimed to position the country as an export-oriented hub at the centre of the Indian Ocean by removing certain limitations in the export sector. The latest decision by the EU would further boost the apparel exports sector in Sri Lanka, which has been gaining ground since the government re-secured the EU’s GSP+ facility. All these indicate that Sri Lanka is the best destination for foreigners to invest in, especially in the export sector with special emphasis on the apparel sector.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/04122017/Z_6|