Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association Chairman Felix Fernando requested the Indian government to either improve the existing apparel quota system to a sizable amount or remove it.
“This will give the Sri Lankan apparel exporters more confidence in doing business in the Indian subcontinent,” he said.
“Since quota restrictions have been imposed, we can export only a certain quantity.The existing apparel quota is not sufficient enough for largescale Sri Lankan apparel manufactures to export to the Indian market and it is pertinent to remove these existing impediments to create win opportunities for both countries.”
Fernando was speaking at the inauguration of India International Textiles Expo 2018 Exhibition and Cum Buyer Seller Meet, taking place from February 21 to 23 at Hotel Galadari, Colombo.
Noting that Sri Lankan apparel exports have grown significantly, registering a 6% growth over the last six months, Fernando expressed hope that the current trend would continue in the coming months as well.
“Sri Lanka currently exports fabrics and other materials from several ASEAN countries including China which are not eligible to receive the GSP Plus benefit.”
Fernando also stressed the need to come up with a proper mechanism that would ultimately help Sri Lankan manufactures to obtain required fabrics and materials from India rather than importing from several ASEAN Countries.
“But unfortunately, current issues need to be sorted out if we need to get more and more fabrics from India.”
Speaking at the event, Special Assignments Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said, “the apparel quota was given not with the idea of restricting, it was given with the idea of stimulating trade.
“Today, that objective is not necessarily the utmost. We’ve done very well and we’re now ready to compete. This is an area where we can work together.”
Apparel is “very sensitive product to India” given its own apparel industry, the Minister said adding that removing or improving the existing quota wouldn’t affect the vastness of the Indian market , but it would certainly be a nice gesture for a country like Sri Lanka.
India International Textiles Expo 2018 Exhibition and Cum Buyer Seller Meet is organized by power loom Development and Export Promotion Council of India (PDEXCIL). More than 35 Indian textile manufacturer-exporters are showcasing Indian fabrics, made-ups, home textiles in various blends and designs, during the exhibition.