SRI LANKA: Apparel exports to US grew by 9.5 percent

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan apparel exports to the US grew by 9.5 percent to bring in US$ 1,217.5 million from January to September this year, compared to the US$ 1,112.2 million during the same period in 2004. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, A. Sukumaran said here on December 01. 

In comparison the first nine months of the year only saw exports worth US$ 720.2 million into the EU from US$ 716.2 million during the same period in 2004.

While Sri Lankan apparel and textile exports into the US showed significant growth from January to September, exports to the EU remained flat, although the GSP+ scheme was open for use from July.

Even coupled with controls on Chinese exports - that rescued US market share - Sri Lanka is "yet to see any impact" from the EU's GSP+, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, A. Sukumaran said.

Exporters say they cannot get through the duty free window opened by the GSP+ because the rules of origin get in the way.

"Due to the stringent country of origin rules, the utilisation of the facility is lower than anticipated," explained Sukumaran at the Association's AGM on Monday.

At the moment Sri Lanka is the only country authorised to use the GSP+, a special trade concession scheme offered by the EU to vulnerable, small economies.

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Added: December 1, 2005 Source: Agencies
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