End to garment
quotas unlikely to affect Sri Lanka
apparel industry won't be affected very much by the end of the global
quota system in 2005 as the industry is competitive with the high
standard of skilled labour and technology employed in garment manufacture,
said Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial
Policy and Investment Promotion last week.
the occasion of announcing the Five Year Plans on the Apparel and
Rubber Industry, he said Sri Lanka was having discussions with the
US tomorrow and on Tuesday (on a possible FTA) which would boost
Chairman Task Force for the Apparel Industry presenting the report
on the apparel industry said the industry would face many challenges
at the end of 2004 when the Multi-Fibre Agreement is phased out.
He said, "The quota system which enabled some developing countries
like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to flourish despite severe competition,
would not be there for the industry to fall back on anymore."
He said that
the apparel manufacturing industry had become the most significant
contributor to the country's economy over two decades. He said that
the end of the quota regime would present an opportunity to manufacturers
who have been competing on quality and supplying garments to the
higher end of the market to enhance their export volumes.
Chairman, Task Force on Rubber announcing the five-year plan said
that their biggest concern is that there won't be enough rubber
in the country to convert into finished products and this is an
important factor to be addressed in the long term. He urged all
stakeholders to work together for the growth of the industry. He
said there should not be conflicting interests between the plantations
and the industry.
He said rubber
was considered to be an environmentally friendly industry, which
provided renewable resources while plantations are believed to have
the highest bio-diversity among manmade forests. Due to its high
ability to sequester carbon from greenhouse gases, rubber also qualified
for carbon trading benefits.