The Global Textile and Clothing Industry


The garment industry in Sri Lanka expanded rapidly after the liberalization of the economy in 1977. During the 1990s, the garment industry grew at 18.5 per cent per annum. The export-led expansion of the industry led to the replacement of tea by garments as the nation’s largest foreign exchange earner. Moreover, the industry has been contributing to the livelihood of nearly 1.2 million people. However, the boom.

period for the industry is gradually coming to an end, with the quota system having ended on 1 January 2005, regional trading blocs and bilateral free trade agreements proliferating and governing nearly 33 per cent of global trade, and China emerging as a major supplier of garments at very competitive rates. The Sri Lankan garment industry is now gearing itself to face these challenges.

This paper provides a broad overview of the industry and analyzes how the industry is preparing itself to meet the global challenges. Section 2 provides a brief overview of the garment industry in Sri Lanka. Section 3 gives a broad picture of the competitiveness of the Sri Lankan garment industry.

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