JAAF re-appoints Chairman Sharad Amalean & Executive Committee at 19th AGM

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex body that guides Sri Lanka apparel towards its ultimate goal of being the world’s number one apparel sourcing destination, held its 19th Annual General Meeting recently, re-appointing industry veteran Sharad Amalean as Chairman. It also unanimously re-elected its Executive Committee including Saifudeen Jafferjee and Felix Fernando as Deputy Chairmen.

Delivering the Chairman’s address, Amalean highlighted that JAAF identifies the importance of bringing in a new generation of young leaders with motivated youthful energy to drive the apparel industry beyond 2025. He stressed that while the past year has not been easy, the credibility JAAF has sustained over the years has undeniably aided the industry to work closely with the Government, relevant authorities and regulatory bodies. This has been a key driver in the ease of doing business in an unprecedented socio-economic fabric, a competitive edge in a challenging business climate.

“2022 was a defining moment for Sri Lanka. The textile and apparel sector should be proud that we prevailed and achieved a turnover of LKR 5.5 billion at the end of last year. I thank our stakeholders, team members and associates working in manufacturing plants all over the country for this achievement,” stated Amalean. He concluded his address with the reminder to adopt a positive outlook for 2023 as the IMF assistance is on the horizon.

Past Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) Aroon Hirdaramani stressed that 2023 will be a challenging year with inventory pile-ups and an increase in costs and input prices. “Luxury brands will go on to do better than others, with the US being in a superior position globally,” he noted in his address.

Highlighting vital policy priorities crucial for the industry to optimise potential in 2023 and beyond, Secretary General of JAAF Yohan Lawrence pointed out that 2022 has been an year of mixed fortunes for apparel exports, starting off with a promise but seeing declining growth in the last months of 2022. “The global recession, overstocking of retail goods in warehouses and the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war on global supply chains took its toll. While Sri Lanka ended 2022 with exports worth USD 5.5 billion which is nearly a 10% increase from previous years, a closer look at the data reveals a worrying trend.”

He quantified Bangladesh’s USD 45 billion export industry growing by a massive 28% as against Sri Lanka’s YoY of 10%. “This growth in Bangladesh indicates that competitor nations are gaining market share from Sri Lanka. We comprise only 1 to 2% of global trade and this will reduce if the government fails to take immediate action.” He noted that with Bangladesh classified as a Least Developed Country, it has unrestricted access to the EU and the UK, while Sri Lanka’s GSP+ and DCTS programme dictate rules of origin, allowing only 50% of exports qualifying for duty free access to those countries.


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