Today, the Sri Lankan textile industry is recognized across the world for being the most progressive and pioneering trade when it comes to apparel manufacturing. The island has a very long history in manufacturing textiles and all through the challenges the apparel industry has faced right up to this day, the textile industry in Sri Lanka stands stronger than ever before. Exports from this industry within a year increased by 11 percent and by end of November in the year 2013, the exports earnings from this industry alone stood at US $2.876 billion, accounting to being a substantial amount of foreign exchange bought into Sri Lanka by a single industry.
Compared to the competing countries in the textile trade which are India, China, Bangladesh and other up and coming countries in the apparel industry such as Vietnam and Cambodia the apparel industry in Sri Lanka is relatively small. However, Sri Lanka has always been consistent in maintaining commitment and excellence of products, ensuring that the country stays on the forefront of the clothing industry as it expands it repertoire on a global scale. The state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, professional work force and the safe and secure environment ensures that any global retailer can have a strong foothold to set up offices and work with the apparel manufactures to export the finest quality textiles.
Competitors and the change of fortune
Bangladesh is considered to be one of Sri Lanka’s biggest textile industry competitors, and considering that the only source of foreign exchange for Bangladesh with huge amounts of labor, vertical supply chains, low cost and GSP has proven to be a demanding fore for the Sri Lankan textile industry. However, owing to existing serious and grave issues in Bangladesh, such as the recent fires in factories that amounted to hundreds of workers being killed, commitments towards performance, falling short in excellence and compliance and this has adversely resulted in many of the main global retailers now shying away from Bangladesh and coming towards Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka in a better position
The Sri Lankan textile industry is committed to ethical apparel manufacture as well as sustainable expansion guaranteeing the textile industry’s strong commitment to ethical working conditions that are free from child labor, forced labor and free from any sort of discrimination. Furthermore, the efforts of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry to provide employment opportunities and harness the rural talents of the island by setting up textile factories across Sri Lanka under the Rural Empowerment Concept has made a noteworthy impact on the country’s economy.
With China and India coming out of garment exports, Cambodia and Vietnam being new to the textile trade and the Bangladeshi apparel industry facing critical issues, the only country to meet all the quality apparel requirements is Sri Lanka. And this shift in the apparel industry gives Sri Lanka a strong edge where the Sri Lankan textile industry can go even further by giving more employment opportunities and higher foreign exchange to Sri Lanka and cementing its place on the apparel map for years to come.
In conclusion, the business community of Sri Lanka should work towards expanding the apparel industry to a better level in light of the ongoing developments in the global environment. Sri Lanka’s existing apparel industry position in the global map needs to be taken as an advantage to become the best foreign revenue generator to the country.