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Direct contacts will result in expansion of apparel exports

Five Apparel exporters from Sri Lanka visited New York, which is the central point in the US for apparel industry. The meetings were held between August 20th - 22nd 2003, with major apparel buyers and importers in the US to establish direct contacts with a view to increasing market share of Sri Lanka's exports. The programme of meetings in New York for the apparel mission was arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, as a part of the strategy to prepare for the quota free market after year 2005. The visiting Sri Lankan apparel exporters met on a one-to-one basis with a wide cross section of apparel buyers in the US. They ranged from major retaliators such as JC Penny to national brands such as, Tommy Hilfiger and Jordache and to large and medium size apparel buyers including Lollytogs, Roytex Apparel, Brylane, Jamie Brooke, Donnkenny Apparel, etc. The Sri Lankan apparel vendors learned first hand the future direction of the US apparel market, changes taking places in the supply chain management, and to establish new contacts and to renew relations with existing buyers. Sri Lankan exporters received a number of inquiries from potential buyers. Major retailers such as JC Penny and importers such as Haddad Apparel, Tommy Hilfiger, Lollytogs mentioned that they are planning to follow up their discussions by visiting Sri Lankan factories. The representative from JC Penny said that "The needlework from Sri Lanka is the finest needlework apparel buyers could get anywhere in the world. However, Sri Lanka needs to improve its price competitiveness to be far with prices quoted by other Asian and South American suppliers". A representative of Haddad Apparel which is the number one kids wear company in the US said that they are extremely happy with their business relations and that they are looking forward to grow their sourcing from Sri Lanka and thus provides increased US market share. He also pointed out the necessity to reduce the lead time required by Sri Lankan exporters and bring down the price level to that of Thailand and Indonesia. A visiting Sri Lankan Apparel Exporter expressing his satisfaction on the program said that the meetings were useful in establishing contacts with new buyers, learning what is going on in the US market and identifying market trends. He also emphasized the usefulness of making direct contacts with buyers and having one to one discussions. The Sri Lankan apparel exporters who visited New York includes; Shadow Line Apparels, Viking Fashions, Union Apparels, Kane Apparels and Hi Q Fashion Ltd. These companies also will participate in "ASAP" Show, which is scheduled to take place from 24th to 27th in Las Vegas. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 23 August 2003