Lanka's garment industry can make big impact on United States - AMCHAM
By Shirajive Sirimane
Daily News - Thursday, July 24, 2003

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The United States imports garments to the value of US $ 200 billion annually and Sri Lanka exports less than 1% to the United States. Sri Lanka's annual garment exports to the US is valued around US $ 1.9 million.

According to Executive Director, American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Maria Rajanayagam, Sri Lankan garments have a high value in the American society since the public know that Sri Lankan products are of high quality and the retailers know that the error rate in Sri Lanka garments is very low. She said that another significant factor that the US public takes into account with regard to the Sri Lankan garments is that local garments are manufactured under high labour laws and that no child labour is used to produce them.

Rajanayagam said that with the garment quota system ending in 2005 and the multi fibre agreement between the US and Europe, there would be stiff competition among manufacturers and countries such as China would benefit from it. "The advantage China has over other countries is their cheap labour. However many say that the quality of some of their products is not as good as Sri Lankan products."

She said that Sri Lanka's garment industry can make a big impact on the US if they market it themselves and added that the world's largest garment exhibition which will be held from August 25 to 28 in Las Vegas would be the ideal venue for this. "This event would give Sri Lankan companies the ideal exposure to find new buyers." She said that the US Embassy will provide all assistance for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to take part in this event.

President, SUMMIT Corporation and Sri Lankan representative for the MAGIC show Hiran Jayasinghe said that 93% of US garment suppliers buy their products through contacts made at the MAGIC show. He said that China has realised the importance of this event and has increased their participation on each occasion. "Last year China had taken only three booths but at the last August exhibition they had increased their participation to 108 and this year China had reserved 300 stalls. They are expected to take 1,000 stalls for the next February exhibition."

He said that the participation from the SAARC region too has increased and India, Bangladesh and Nepal has reserved 58, 11 and 5 booths respectively. Jayasinghe said that Bangladesh participated in this event for the first time and they managed to secure deals to the value of US $ one million. "During the last exhibition in February trade deals to the value of over US $ 60 billion were initiated at the exhibition."

He said that over 100,000 buyers from 110 countries, 7,000 exhibitors and 33,000 departmental stores representing stalls will take part in the MAGIC event this August. Jayasinghe started his own IT company in Beverly Hills, California in the early 1990's.

He was the Founder, President and the only Sri Lankan at the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Beverly Hills. He was also advisor for Michael Jackson Productions, Penthouse Publications and aerospace and entertainment companies in USA. In 1999, he set up his branch office under the name SUMMIT Corporation (Pvt.) Ltd., in Sri Lanka. More details could be obtained from the MAGIC website or e-mail

He said that that 52% of the buyers who would be attending the MAGIC event are Vice Presidents of their companies and 93% of them look for new buyers.


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