Sri Lanka earned a record 5.3 billion U.S. dollars from its apparel exports in 2019, showing a 5.1 percent 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 U.S. markets while retail sales in Sri Lanka’s largest apparel export market, the United Kingdom, remained sluggish because of Brexit.
Despite the decline in these markets, exports to other markets recorded an impressive growth leading to record export earnings, JAAF data showed.Exports to EU grew by over 5 percent year on year to reach 2.2 billion U.S. dollars while exports to the United States recorded a growth of 3.3 percent year on year to 2.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
Exports to other markets such as Canada, The United Arab Emirates, Australia and Japan also grew at a comparatively faster pace.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.
The apparel and textile industry contributes six percent to Sri Lanka’s GDP while accounting for 40 percent of the country’s total exports