Indian textile delegation meets Hon. Basil Rajapaksa
The Ministry of Economic Development together with other relevant ministries and institutions has initiated a programme to revive the textile industry of Sri Lanka along with the apparel industry. Earlier Sri Lanka had well developed textile industry consisting handlooms. Powerlooms, fabric and cotton industries. But all these sectors were closed down after Sri Lanka introduced free economic policies said Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the President and Minister of Economic Development when he met the Indian Textile Industry delegation today (19) at the Ministry of Economic Development. A high level Indian delegation headed by Mr. Kiran Dhangra, secretary to the Ministry of Textile of India is currently in Sri Lanka in order to have a joint programme on textile industry between Sri Lanka and India.
At the outset, Hon. Minister thanked Hon. Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles of India for the 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 said at the meeting he had with the Hon. Anand Sharma they agreed to give special attention to two sectors namely, pharmaceutical sector and textile sector. Immediately after his return to India first he sent a delegation to discuss on pharmaceutical industry. Now he has sent this delegation on textile industry.
He thanked the Minister Anand Sharma for his efficiency and interest taken on Sri Lanka.
Hon. Basil Rajapaksa 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” backyard Economy Development Programme these two sectors will develop providing opportunities for employment, skill 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 Minister said.
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. There are big potential to develop cotton production industry in traditional production areas such as Hambathota and also can produce them in areas like North minister said.
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 programme. 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.
Mr. Anura Siriwardhana, Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr. 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.