- Created on Thursday, 20 September 2012 11:39
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A programme has been initiated by the Ministry of Economic Development in conjunction with other relevant ministries and institutions to revive the textile industry in Sri Lanka along with the apparel industry.
Sri Lanka earlier had a well expanded textile industry consisting of handlooms, powerlooms, fabric and cotton industries. But all these sectors were closed down after Sri Lanka introduced the free economic policy said Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the President and Minister of Economic Development when he met the Indian Textile Industry delegationon Wednesday (19) at the Ministry of Economic Development.
A high-level Indian textile delegation arrived in Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral textile and garment trade between the two countries.
The delegation, which is on a three-day visit , comprises of both high-ranking Government officials and representatives of major private sector textile and apparel companies.
The visiting team consists of high-ranking Ministry of Textiles officials Mrs. Kiran Dhingra, V. Srinivas, Mrs. Sunaina Tomar and JP Dutt.
The delegation also includes representatives of various textile and apparel associations such as Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), and Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL).
At the outset, Minister Rajapaksa thanked Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles of India for immediate action taken by him to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries since his visit to Sri Lanka on 2nd August 2012. Minister Rajapaksa referring to he discussion he had with Anand Sharma said that at this discussion special attention was drawn to two sectors namely, pharmaceutical and textile sector. Immediately after Anand Sharma returned to India he sent a delegation to discuss on pharmaceutical industry. Now he has sent this delegation on textile industry.
The Minister also thanked India for granting Sri Lanka additional apparel quota of 5 million pieces under Indo - Sri Lanka free trade agreement with no restrictions on fabric sourcing. He appreciated the efforts taken by India for sectoral liberalization of both apparel and textile under the Indo - Sri Lanka free trade Agreement.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka will welcome India's help to revive the handloom and power loom industries. These two industries were closely related to the rural community of Sri Lanka. Under the "Divi Naguma" Economy Development Programme these two sectors will develop providing opportunities for employment, skills development and entrepreneurship development for rural people. Handloom sector is confronted with problems such as inadequate yarn supply, poor designs and small markets.
Sri Lanka had several large scale fabric production mills earlier. But all of them are not functioning now. Both countries can have a joint programme to renew the fabric production in Sri Lanka since there is a big demand for fabric from the apparel sector as well as local consumers. Sri Lankan government alone spend large amount of money to import fabric for school uniform annually the Minister pointed out.
Sri Lanka had a rich cotton production industry from the beginning of the country's history. But now Sri Lanka is a cotton importing country. The Minister emphasized that there is vast potential to develop cotton production industry in traditional production areas such as Hambathota as well as in the North.
Indian delegation expressed their willingness to have Indian investment in Sri Lanka as joint ventures in textile industry forming strategically alliance between the two countries. India will provide assistance to set up training and skill development programmes. In order to implement these programmes and furthering cooperation between the two countries in this sector it was decided to set up a joint working group on textile and apparel.
Anura Siriwardhana, Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman Sri Lanka Export Development Board, representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Finance and representatives of the textile and apparel industries in Sri Lanka also participated at this discussion.