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Sri Lanka is expecting to deliver a 4-5% year-on-year growth in apparel exports in 2019, the country’s leading apparel industry association has said.

Speaking to local publication The Daily Star, Tuli Cooray, secretary general at the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), said he assumed the UK would not leave the EU on a No-Deal Brexit basis, but is hopeful instead that a deal will be negotiated that will help Sri Lanka realise that 4-5% export growth target

Last month, the country’s 2018 export target was revised downward from US$5.5bn to US$5bn, after exports slipped in October to US$403m from US$407m a year earlier, following lower demand from the US, one of its largest markets.

JAAF now says it is on track to deliver export targets of US$5.05bn for 2018. The total exports during the January-November period grew 4.92% year-on-year to US $4.58bn. 

In November, apparel exports grew 10% year-on-year to $447m, with rising shipments to both main markets – the US and the EU. Exports to the US were up to US$218m from $187m a year earlier, and exports to the EU for the month grew to $170m from $166m.

Cooray said: “We have in fact managed to arrest the downward trend which was there in 2018,  and we are gradually moving towards an upward trend.”

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However, Felix Fernando, chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, warned industry stakeholders to “expect modest figures for December.”