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The textile and clothing industries is one of the ancient, largest, and most globalized industries in the world. With the fast improvement in the clothing industry most of the countries adopted it as the key player in their economy. People embraced textile and clothing industry more gladly, as it always aligned with what people expect to wear.
It is an ideal industry for developing countries which engaged mostly in export-oriented productions. Textile and clothing industry forms many value adding functions like extracting natural resources from nature, converting those things to raw materials, product developments, product designing, sewing, marketing, retailing etc. In addition to that sub functions like printing, embroidering, washing are involving with whole manufacturing procedure. So obviously the clothing and textile industry provide number of employment for country’s population. Providing fashion and textile products as basic human necessity, the manufactures of these products provides the means of earning a living for an impressive portion of the world’s population. This industry are, by far the world’s leading manufacturing employer (Dickerson, 1999).
Sri Lankan apparel and textile industry had a modest foundation in the 1960s manufacturing mainly textile and clothing for the local market under heavy protection. In 1970’s the export oriented manufacturing of clothing (readymade garments) began and expanded promptly after the liberalization of the economy in 1977. When Sri Lanka liberalized its economy in 1977 the country’s garment trade took off immediately mainly as the quota hopping East Asian garment exporters who were fascinated by the country’s liberal trade regime. The East Asians relocated their already well-established garment business in Sri Lanka due to low labor cost which ensured the production costs low. This was encouraged local business partners to launch its own garment initiatives to exploit markets guaranteed by quotas assisted by the liberal trade regime and reinforced by incentives approved by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI). Including tax holidays and other fiscal and non-fiscal concessions.
During 1980s garment exports were growing rapidly and by 1986 garment exports accounted for the largest share of all exports (27%). In 1992, the BOI offered an attractive incentive package to all garment manufacturers to move into the rural areas of Sri Lanka. This program was under 200 garment factory program which is considered as the most important turning point of the apparel industry. The BOI was able to set up 163 factories under the said program by 1995. By 1992, the garment industry had become the largest foreign exchange earner in the country (US$400Mn) overtaking the tea industry. By 2002, Sri Lanka’s textile and garment sector accounted for 6% of the GDP, 30% of industrial production, 33% of manufacturing employment, 52% of total exports and 67% of industrial exports (BOI Sri Lanka – 2016). Sri Lanka is expected to meet US$ 5 billion mark in 2020. Following are the statistics of clothing experts of Sri Lanka.
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