“We have been experiencing a reduction of around 20 percent in orders due to a global slowdown for past seven months. We think this will continue for another 5-6 months,”JAAF Secretary General Yohan Lawrence said.
As key markets like the United States (US), European Union (EU), and United Kingdom are currently experiencing an economic slowdown coupled with high inflation, he emphasised that other significant apparel exporters like Vietnam, China, and Bangladesh are also struggling with the same issue alongside Sri Lanka. This has led to a decrease in export orders.
Lawrence also pointed out that some stores aren’t placing fresh purchases since they already have too many stocks that they gathered throughout the outbreak.
He recognised that garment exporters are making the required modifications to deal with the new reality, which may involve reducing working hours and freezing new hiring.
He disregarded the possibility that the vast majority of exporters might make drastic changes, such as closing plants and eliminating jobs.
“There will be some readjustment when there’s a reduction of 20 percent in orders. The industry stopped recruitment 6-7 months ago,” he added.
Dilum Amunugama, the State Minister for Investment Promotion, emphasised that the Government is prepared to help garment exporters during this crucial moment so they can make the necessary changes while keeping their staff. Lawrence praised the Government’s initiatives to advance new free trade agreements (FTAs) with China and India as well as the recent announcement to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is expected to provide Sri Lankan exporters with access to new markets.