January apparel exports hit 5-year high – Reuters

  • Shows resilience with monthly tally of US$488 million eclipsing pre-pandemic figures: JAAF

Sri Lanka’s garment exports in January 2022 hit the highest level for that month in the last five years. This performance demonstrates the underlying strength of the industry, which has rebounded from sustained shocks from the impact of the pandemic over the past two years.

Sri Lanka’s garment export earnings reached US$487.6 million in January 2022, surpassing the US$452 million recorded in January 2019, before the pandemic, by 8%. Growth over January 2021 export earnings was 23%.

“Amid significant turbulence, this strong performance is a testament to the resilience of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry and bodes well for the industry’s progress towards meeting its 2025 targets,” said Yohan Lawrence, Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the supreme body of the Sri Lankan garment industry.

The industry’s 2030 vision is to transform Sri Lanka into a global garment hub by that year; an interim goal is to increase annual apparel export earnings to US$8 billion by 2025. trade and quality jobs,” Lawrence added.

The industry’s performance in January 2022 also reflects the success of the rigorously enforced safety measures adopted by the sector, in close collaboration with health authorities, to minimize the spread of the pandemic among employees to zero. Moreover, at the pace of the national vaccination campaign, 65% of employees in the garment sector in Sri Lanka have now received both doses and the booster, while 95% of employees have received at least both doses. Apparel exporters also proactively adopted additional safety measures, even before the Omicron variant arrived in Sri Lanka. “Ensuring the health and safety of employees in the industry, through rigorous and continued adherence to safety and health protocols, remains our top priority,” said Lanka Garments (Pvt.) Ltd Managing Director Saif Jafferjee. “This approach has supported industry resilience and reduced the negative impact of COVID-19, while ensuring business continuity, thereby protecting thousands of livelihoods and sources of income.”

Recent performance also reflects the success of measures such as the adoption of digital product development technologies that have helped mitigate supply chain disruptions. Big companies have also supported smaller ones by working with them to meet the rush of export orders.

“The impressive performance in January was also made possible by strong buyer demand and a good order book for the coming months, which gives cause for optimism,” added Jafferjee.
“The international outlook remains difficult, however, given the growing tensions in Europe.”

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