Protecting hard-earned reputation of SL apparel exports is priority: JAAF

  • Warns that brands may move to alternate production locations
  • Bracing for 20% reduction in orders, export earnings to take a hit

Amid rising apprehension of a global economic recession and resulting
softening of international consumer demand, Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Association Forum
(JAAF) reiterated its demand for systemic economic and political reforms to restore stability, and
rebuild trust and confidence in the nation – locally and globally.
Addressing the impact of the ongoing volatility on the sector, JAAF noted that Sri Lanka’s
apparel sector had continued to display outstanding resilience by continuing to fulfill all existing
orders and production schedules in the face of unprecedented adversity.
However, at a time when global consumer sentiment is expected to weaken and many in the
industry bracing for a potential reduction in orders by as much as 20% in the next season’s
orders (June to August), the association warned of serious negative consequences if policy
makers continued to delay on the sweeping reforms needed to put Sri Lanka back on track.
Accordingly, JAAF called on the Government to immediately commence discussions with
credible policy and industry experts towards rapid development of a practical, apolitical
Roadmap for Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery.
Secretary General of JAAF Yohan Lawrence stressed that the need of the hour is to ensure that
Sri Lanka continues to maintain the confidence of its buyers by remaining resilient amidst the
coming global economic crisis.
“For more than 30 years – including multiple global and regional economic downturns – the Sri
Lankan apparel industry has meticulously built a reputation that reflects the highest levels of
reliability, quality and sophisticated technical capabilities. Particularly in recent years, these
efforts have been complemented with a truly visionary approach to innovation, sustainability and
circularity in fashion.
“Owing to unprecedented national economic mismanagement, this sector, which has long
served as a fundamental pillar to the Sri Lankan economy, is now under serious threat. Any plan
for economic revival must prioritize support to apparel manufacturers large and small, and
leverage this strength to help stabilize the Sri Lankan economy. We need sustainable, decisive
solutions and we need them now,” stated Lawrence.
Over the course of 2021, Sri Lanka’s apparel sector increased its earnings by 22.9% Year-on-
Year (YoY) generating US$5.42 billion in export earnings, and accounting for almost half of all
merchandise exports, in addition to providing gainful employment for a workforce of
approximately 1 million (direct and indirect).
Moving forward, Lawrence noted that the apparel sector’s most urgent need was a stable
energy supply to ensure operational continuity.
“Large Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have been among the most effective adopters of
renewable energy technology, particularly solar energy. Together with other optimizations in
energy consumption, these proactive measures have mitigated some of the worst disruptions to

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