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“Current dip in apparel export revenue should settle by year end”

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Not typical to Lanka but global trend

The current dip in apparel revenue is not something faced only by Sri Lanka but is a global trend. This negative trend is not something long term but should settle by the end of the year.

These sentiments were opined by two stalwarts in the apparel industry, Directors of Garment Industry Management institute (set up three decades ago) Gihan Thalgodapitiya and Bharatha Egalahewa.

Gihan Thalgodapitiya and Bharatha Egalahewa  

They said that for example in China the apparel revenue which was USD 158 billion had dropped to staggering USD 149 billion while in Bangladesh it had dropped from USD 33 billion to USD 28 billion. Sri Lankan export revenue in recent time had dropped from around USD 5.5 billion to USD 5.3 billion. “This should improve at the end of the year.”

He said that like tourism the local apparel sector too had its ups and downs especially during C-19 Pandemic specially in years like 20022005, 2008, 2015 and during the C-19 period but always bounced back even stronger. The current temporary apparel export dip is mostly glorified by the opposition and pressure groups mainly to gain a political advantage. They recalled that even when the 1,000 garment factory program was introduced there was political opposition and staff discouraged from going to work calling them ‘Juki Kella’

“Today many high end clients prefer to buy Sri Lankan made garments due to its high quality and ethical compliances while manufacturing them and this advantage has still not been lost. They explained that recently a lot of negative publicity was created when a leading apparel exporter relocated to another venue. People said that this company shut down operations when they went overseas. Actually what happened is that their lease agreement in their current venue ended and the company relocated.”

The duo however said Sri Lanka which started by providing apparel to a quota system catering to a mass market had now elevated itself as a niche market supplier. “The global economic crisis has reduced the buying power of customers. However, the niche market buyers are not too affected by this crisis and will soon return to its ‘usual buying pattern’ when ‘winter buying’ commences.”

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 – 01:00

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