Sri Lanka’s earnings from apparel exports has seen an over 4 per cent decline during the first quarter of the current year, according to Ceylon Chamber of Commerce data.
In 2000, the apparel exports accounted for 49 per cent of the island’s total exports and by 2011 the share dropped to 38 per cent, data showed.
Industry analysts, commenting on the figures, said the loss of exports to European Union (EU) under the GSP+ tariff concessions have contributed largely to the cumulative loss of earnings.
The EU accounts for nearly 50 per cent of apparel exports for Sri Lanka with US as it second largest destination.
In 2010, the GSP+ (Generalised System of Preferences) facility was suspended by the EU over concerns on human rights and the rule of law.
Sri Lanka did not want to comply with three of the 27 components listed under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Sri Lanka was estimated to have lost USD 1 billion over GSP+ suspension.
The exports to US has also fallen by 3 per cent year-on-year in 2012, according to the data.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters’ Association Rohan Abeykoon said the government needs to reapply for GSP+ facility to EU.
“We understood the government’s difficulty in complying with original conditions laid down by the EU. Now, with the progress made we can re-open the discussion,” he added