“The total exports of apparel in the first quarter of 2009 was US $ 801.3 million compared with US $ 736.2 million in the previous year, recording an overall growth of 8.8 percent. ..Although exports to the US recorded four percent decline in January – March 2009 with exports recording US $ 346.3 million compared to US $ 360.9 million in the previous corresponding period, exports to the EU increased to US $ 404.4 million in the first quarter 2009 compared to US $ 336.0 in the previous corresponding period, recording a high positive growth of 20.3 percent. ..While the apparel industry expresses its satisfaction over its performance, it acknowledges that it was due to timely action taken by the Government with necessary macro policy adjustment measures, providing relief by implementing proposals announced in the Budget of 2009 and putting in place Export Development Rewards (EDR) scheme that enabled the apparel industry not only to be competitive but also record a growth in exports in the first quarter of 2009. ..The performance of the apparel sector in the first quarter of this year should be viewed in the background of all major exports markets of Sri Lanka with the export sector facing many challenges internationally and domestically and many other exports sectors of the economy not being able to maintain their previous levels exports. ..The many contributory factors which enable the apparel industry to perform satisfactorily include removal of surcharge on electricity, reduction in cost of furnace oil and implementing other measures announced in the 2009 Budget. ..The timely announcement of Export Development Rewards (EDR) scheme by the Government and putting in place an implementation structure enabled the apparel industry to maintain its competitiveness and prevent their major buyers shifting to other competitor countries. ..The recent adjustment to exchange rates for which the apparel industry has been making representations has also had its desired positive impact. ..The membership of JAAF being the major contributor to foreign exchange earnings of the country accounting for 43 percent of total export earnings, express its deep appreciation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his far-sightedness in taking macro economic measures and implementing the EDR scheme for the benefit of the industry at a time when Sri Lanka is faced with challenges of fighting terrorism. ..The JAAF also wishes to convey its gratitude to Basil Rajapaksa, M.P and Special Advisor to President, for the initiatives taken by him to address and resolve many issues affecting the industry, which immensely contributed to performance of the apparel industry. ..The contribution made by Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris, for putting in place administrative structure for the implementation of the EDR scheme an initiative taken to find new exports markets, as well as support and assistance provided by Minister of Industrial Development Kumara Welgama for implementing many programs..
Source:Daily News – Sril Lanka