Sri Lanka apparel exports rise after reinstatement of EU GSP+

European Union’s tariff concession Generalized System of Preferences plus (GSP+) has delivered its most prominent success for Sri Lankan exports to-date since its reinstatement, Minister of Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen says.

“As a result of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s efforts on GSP Plus, our apparel exports from January to September this year has increased by 11.3% to US $ 1.67 Billion,” said the Minister on Wednesday in Colombo.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of the third edition of Intex South Asia 2017 in Colombo on 15 November joined by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ms R P Marks and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

Having completed two previous fairs in 2015 and 2016 in Colombo, Intex has now become the largest and sole international textile sourcing event in South Asia for yarns, apparel fabrics, and accessories. A strong presence of Chinese, Indian and Hong Kong participants is seen-along with leading multinationals such as Reliance Industries, Bombay Rayon Fashions Ltd., Mekotex, The Woolmark Company are showcasing their material at this event which concludes on Friday 17.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe called for more events like Intex as a way for Sri Lanka’s integration with the region.

“Intex is the largest textile sourcing exhibition in the region. It is also an indication of how we are integrated to the global trading system. Sri Lanka apparel industry is important for our economy and is important for integration of Sri Lanka with the global trading system and the rest of South Asia,” the Prime Minister said adding that but there is more to be done.

“There are many opportunities in the value chain in the region that we have not taken. This type of events will lead to closer integration with South Asian countries,” PM Wickremesinghe added.

Minister Bathiudeen stressed that the EU GSP Plus has delivered for Sri Lankan apparel exports.

“Our government’s special efforts to improve our international relations were successful and has resulted in Sri Lanka receiving EU GSP Plus which greatly strengthened our exports, specially apparel exports” Minister Bathiudeen said.

“Our apparel exports to EU has increased by only 2% from January to September 2016 in comparison to the same period in 2015. As a result of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s efforts, after receiving EU GSP Plus, our apparel exports to EU from January to September this year compared the same period last year at US $ 1.5 billion, has increased by a huge 11.3% to US $ 1.67 Billion. Even though US market is not connected to EU GSP our apparel exports to US too has increased this year by 12% to $ 1.8 billion (in January to September). I am also pleased to say that our overall apparel exports to all countries this year January to September increased by 13.4% to US $ 3.97 billion in comparison to the same period last year at US $ 3.5 billion. We believe this growth trend would continue and therefore expect even better performance next year.”

In 2016, Sri Lanka’s apparel exports were at US $4.86 billion, claiming 43% of total Sri Lankan exports basket of that year.