Sri Lanka earned a record 5.3 billion US dollars from its apparel exports in 2019, showing a 5.1 per cent year on year increase, according to the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF).
However, a slight decline in export earnings was recorded in December 2019 due to a slowdown in the key EU and US markets while retail sales in Sri Lanka's largest apparel export market, the United Kingdom, remained sluggish because of Brexit, the report seen on Wednesday said.
Despite the decline in these markets, exports to other markets recorded an impressive growth leading to record export earnings, reports Xinhua citing JAAF data.
Exports to EU grew by over 5.0 per cent year on year to reach $2.2 billion while exports to the US recorded a growth of 3.3 per cent year on year to $2.3 billion in 2019.
Exports to other markets such as Canada, The United Arab Emirates, Australia and Japan also grew at a comparatively faster pace.
Local media reports, quoting experts in the apparel industry said that Sri Lanka's apparel sector has been trying to diversify its export base in BRICS countries (comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) particularly in India and China as growth in the traditional markets has slowed down.
Industry leaders said that the proposed Free Trade Agreement with China and the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement with India are crucial to break into the Chinese and Indian markets.
The apparel and textile industry contributes six percent to Sri Lanka's GDP while accounting for 40 per cent of the country's total exports.
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