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Sri Lanka’s 2017 apparel performance has matched the recent forecast made by the Minister of Industry and Commerce-even exceeding a little.

“We expect that the final total apparel exports for entire 2017 would clearly exceed the exports of 2016, and expect it to be in the range of $ 4.7 billion” forecast the Minister of industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on January 16. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of an Apparel Industry Suppliers Exhibition in Colombo.

Apparel export revenue data issue by both Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) confirmed Minister Bathiudeen’s forecast. According to these latest data, the total Sri Lankan apparel exports for Y2017 was US $ 4.818 Bn (an increase of 3.06% from 2016’s $4.67 Bn). This is the highest annual export revenue to be recorded for Lankan apparels.

Only for the month of December 2017, the exports were at $ 452 Mn –a 21% increase in comparison to 2016 December’s $374 Mn.

Interestingly, December 2017 monthly exports too were the highest ever exports for any December.

45% of apparel exports in 2017 (at $ 2.163 Bn) went to US while 42% (at $ 2.025 Bn) headed to the EU.

Year on Year exports to US showed a 2% increase in 2017 from 2016’s $2.121 Bn. Still, YoY exports to EU surged by a larger 4.13% to $ 2.02 Bn in 2017, from 2016’s $1.944 Bn.

On January 16, Minister Bathiudeen said: “I praise Sri Lanka apparel industry and the exporters for this great performance. As you may already know textile and apparel are almost half of our total annual exports of all products.”

It is estimated that two-thirds of Lankan apparel workers are women and therefore this sector is a major industry supporting the development of the country’s female labour force. – Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

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