The target is a marked increase from current earnings of apparel exports. Between January-December 2021, Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) revealed apparel and textile exports increased by 22.93% year on year to US$5.4m.

Apparel is one of the biggest exports for Sri Lanka and the new target as announced by JAAF, comes on the back of news the country’s apparel export earnings for January 2022 rose to US$487.6m, the highest in five years.

JAAF attributes recent performance to the success of “rigorously applied safety measures adopted by the sector, in close cooperation with health authorities, to minimise the spread of the pandemic among employees to zero,” and the success of measures like digital product development technology adoption that helped mitigate supply chain disruptions.

“Amidst significant turbulence, this strong performance is testimony to the resilience of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry and augurs well for the industry’s progress towards realising its goals for 2025,” said Yohan Lawrence, secretary-general, Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF).

The industry’s 2030 vision is to transform Sri Lanka into a global apparel hub by that year; an intermediate goal is to increase annual export earnings from apparel to $8bn by 2025.

“Through close cooperation between all key stakeholders, the apparel industry can further increase its already-strong contribution to the national economy, as a major generator of vital foreign exchange and high-quality employment,” Lawrence added.