In today's world of Instagram and fast fashion, Sri Lanka's garment exporters have found a nice niche thanks to their design-to-deliver supply chain. But the industry could get caught out by challenges from a fast-changing global trade environment.
With the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact — of which Sri Lanka is not a signatory — on the horizon, competition from TPP signatories such as Vietnam could deal a blow to the South Asian nation's apparel export industry, which currently employs half a million Sri Lankans and provides 44 percent of all manufactured goods exported by the country.
It wouldn't be the first time Sri Lanka is up against trade practices that are not in its favor.
Since 2010, when the European Commission revoked Sri Lanka 's Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status as a penalty for alleged human rights abuses committed at the end of the country's civil war, the industry has suffered from the loss of preferential tax treatment.