Apparel Industry Sri Lanka
One of Sri Lanka’s biggest industries and a main contributor to the country’s economy is its apparel and textiles industry. Across all areas of design, manufacture and export it employs 15% of the country’s workforce, most of these employees being women who are 85% of the entire industry’s workforce. The industry accounts for half of Sri Lanka’s total exports, making it one of the top apparel producing countries in the world. Due to an open economic policy and friendly environment towards trade and investment, the industry grew notably in the 1980’s and further became an attractive business venue under the Multi Fibre Agreement.
While nearly 24 joint venture companies were responsible for making the Sri Lankan garment industry competitive, two of the first were namely The Omar Group which used to be known as LM Apparels belonging to the Brandix Group and The Amalean Group which were joint venture partnerships with Martins Trust established in 1986 and 1987 respectively, also attracting more foreign invest ors through knowledge transfers and technology. Apart from these Martins Trust has created a new venture called Bodyline by establishing partnerships with Triumph International and MAS Holdings. Most of the value of export garments to the US comes from MAS Holdings, Brandix, Hirdaramani Group and Jay Jay Mills Groups. A majority of Sri Lanka’s textile goods is exported to the United States, with North Carolina being the state with the largest concentration of textile industries. Its total amount of export goods from Sri Lanka is 76%.
In the years 1996 and 1997 there was a 38% increase in textile revenue leading to an earning of $ 2.18 billion in the country and in 1998, 50 new factories were opened. A majority of textiles factories which are small or mid- sized are owned by Sri Lankans while the bigger operations are joint ventures or foreign owned. Growing to become Sri Lanka’s largest export revenue since the 1970’s, the textile industry contributes 39% to industrial production and 43% of total exports in the country.