Sri Lanka apparel exports hit USD 4.8 billion in 2017

Sri Lanka's apparel exports has recorded the highest annual export revenue this year, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

According to the Apparel export revenue data issued by both Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA), the total Sri Lankan apparel exports for Year 2017 was USD 4.818 billion, an increase of 3.06% from USD 4.67 billion recorded in 2016.

For the month of December 2017 alone, the exports were at USD 452 million, a 21% increase in comparison to 2016 December's USD 374 million. December 2017 monthly exports were the highest ever exports for any December, the Ministry said.

Out of the total apparel exports in 2017, 45% of volume were sent to U.S. earning USD 2.163 billion while 42% was to the European Union at USD 2.025 billion.

Year on Year exports to US showed a 2% increase in 2017 from 2016's USD 2.121 billion while exports to the EU surged by a larger 4.13% to USD 2.02 billion in 2017, from 2016's USD1.944 billion.

Earlier last month, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen praising the Sri Lanka apparel industry and the exporters for their great performance forecasted the apparel exports to exceed USD 4.7 billion for 2017.

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 labor force, the Minister said.