Dec 01, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s apex organization for the development and promotion of exports, Export Development Board (EDB) has facilitated the linking of the apparel sector to new virgin market and some premium global buyers of three other new markets.

A visiting high powered multinational buyer team finally linked with the EDB reps and Lankan apparel giants on November 27 at Mount Lavinia Hotel after a three-year long resolute quest since 2012 by EDB to link with nine top global retailers.

“This is another good news for our surging apparel sector,” said the State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe upon hearing the development over the phone and added: “We believe that this breakthrough could help us to move towards our new apparel export target set by the industry.”

Apparels are Sri Lanka’s topmost merchandise exports and in 2014 it earned US$ 4.9 billion increasing by 9.2% from 2013. Last week, Sri Lanka’s apparel industry set an ambitious new export target of US$ 10 billion by 2025.

The visiting international buyer team, flown in by EDB, consisted of reps from top fashion retailers of Brazil, Australia, India and Denmark.

Chairperson & CEO of EDB, Indira Malwatte, addressing the global representatives said Sri Lanka’s apparel sector now supplies to well-known labels including Calvin Klein, Gap, Marks & Spencer, and Victoria’s Secret.

The reps in the visiting international buyer team were from Brazil (Casas Pernambucanas, Grupo Guararapes, Cia Herring), Australia (Pilot Athletic, Cotton on Group, Bein Sports, and Auluaulu International), Denmark (Day Birger Mikkelsen), and India (Raymond Apparel Limited). They were instantly wowed by the high quality of Lankan apparel produce, and promptly embarked on EDB facilitated factory visits of Lankan manufacturers on the same day. The buyers also took part in Sri Lanka Design Festival event in Colombo on 26 November. EDB estimates that Brazil’s apparel import market to be worth US$ 2.5 billion, Australia US$ 6 billion, and Denmark US$ 5 billion.