Apparel exports in 2013 have reached an all time record of US$ 4.3 billion compared with US$ 3.8 billion in 2012," said Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) acting Chairman Noel Priyatilleke.
Speaking at the JAFF 10th Annual General Meeting he said that nevertheless, the challenge ahead of us is not only to sustain this business but also to grow because the Government expects Sri Lankan apparel, tea and rubber to fetch a turnover of US$ 10 billion by 2016 and Sri Lankan apparel has also to be among the first ten apparel exporter countriesof the world by 2020.
The time has come for us to explore all possible avenues to reach this target and I do believe that Sri Lankan apparel can achieve it, because of the visionary leadership given by the stalwarts of our industry coupled with the business friendly environment created by our Government. Let us get together to perform this task.
"The introduction of Gazette Notification which directed that all Shipping Service Providers shall ensure that a Bill of Lading clearly indicates whether the consignment is freight collect or freight pre-paid on a request made by us was a great achievement.
"This could not be achieved for more than a decade and a half".
"Sri Lankan entities can now place orders in other low cost bases in the region, bring back to Sri Lanka, add value and export. Multi country consolidation which is offering enormous opportunities is also now possible." "We have continuously included the subject of market diversification and made representations to the Government to explore the possibilities of obtaining preferential treatment from China, India, Japan, Russia and Brazil.
The proposed FTA with China would help the industry in a great way."
"If not for the introduction of the suspended VAT scheme the complexities attributed to VAT administration system including refund mechanism and double digit rate, the apparel industry could not have been able to perform.
"I believe a transparent single digit VAT system is an absolute necessity for the economy to grow."
"JAAF believes that the completed reform agenda supported by the international market penetration activities, in particular conclusion of China Free Trade Agreement and other targeted non traditional markets, Sri Lanka will rank as the best among sourcing countries in this part of the world."
"We are confident that with all these reforms and trade facilitation measures, we should be able to reach the target of US$ 6 billion in 2020."
Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Planning and Economic Development was the chief guest at the event.