Sri Lanka recorded £1,158 million of exports to the UK in 2014, signifying a 36 percent annual growth, helped on by the apparel industry, and reaffirming the UK as Sri Lanka’s top export destination in Europe.
“These latest figures demonstrate the strong demand from British buyers for high-quality goods manufactured in Sri Lanka, notably in the apparel and clothing accessories sector. M&S, Next, George for Asda and Tesco all operate sourcing offices in this country,” British High Commissioner John Rankin said.
The apparel sector accounted for 74 percent of the total exports with £ 865 million, a 34 percent increase from 2013.
Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have been capitalizing on sustainable garment manufacturing. The first eco-factory under M&S’s ‘Plan A’ strategy was constructed in Sri Lanka to produce eco-friendly lingerie, including the world’s first carbon neutral bra.
According to the British High Commission, the UK retail brands also prefer Sri Lankan products due to high labour standards and the success of the ‘Garments without guilt’ campaign, which focused on ethically-made clothing free of child labour, sweatshop conditions and forced labour.
Rankin, while noting that over 100 UK companies operate successfully in Sri Lanka, said that there are continuing strong opportunities for British companies in the Sri Lankan market. He also said that the UK could explore further market opportunities in Sri Lanka and build on its £ 165 million exports for 2014.
“Trade and investment is a two-way relationship and I look forward to further growing British exports to this country. People in Sri Lanka share a strong affinity with high-quality UK brands and there is continuing demand for top-class British products, from food and drink to highly engineered equipment. ”
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