The Sri Lankan Apparel industry began modestly in the 1960s, producing mainly for the local market under heavy protectionism. The liberalisation of the economy in 1977 boosted the sector, encouraging both local and foreign investment, and by 1986 Apparel accounted for the largest share of exports. Owing largely to a Board of Investment (BOI) incentive package, over 160 factories were established between 1992 and 1995, and by 2002, Garments accounted for 52% of Sri Lanka’s total exports.

Today, the sector provides employment for nearly 1 million people (approximately 15% of Sri Lanka’s workforce), and exports to major global markets including the USA, the EU, and Canada. Total export revenue earned in 2018 amounted to $5 billion, and is projected to reach $8 billion by 2025, with Sri Lanka enjoying the highest apparel exports per capita in the region.

Initially driven by a low-wage, low-cost model of competition, the Sri Lankan apparel industry has evolved to provide sophisticated and efficient solutions to the industry’s complex global needs.
Sri Lanka’s international reputation is well-based. The free education system produces a large number of highly educated, skilled, competent graduates who have enabled the industry to thrive. The island’s strategic location at the nexus of international shipping routes, as well as its proximity to India, enable manufacturers to access major global markets with speed and efficiency.
This advantage is bolstered by investment & business oriented government policy, as well as rapid innovation. The return of peace & stability in 2009 has opened up the North & East to business, providing unprecedented opportunities for investment & capacity expansion. Already, 10 factories are under construction in the region, with more projects underway.
With over four decades of experience, Sri Lanka’s manufactures apparel of the highest quality, producing for a range of prestigious international clothing brands including Victoria’s Secret, Pierre Cardin, GAP, Liz Claiborne, Next, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nike. This rapid development of the industry has transformed Sri Lanka into a regional Apparel Hub, with its top 3 apparel companies amongst the world’s 50 most important suppliers.

Sustainability & Ethical Practises

Sri Lanka’s apparel producers are committed to the environmentally-friendly, sustainable production of garments; green manufacturing is a concept which has been widely embraced. Sri Lanka showcases the finest green technology, including the world’s first Green Garment Factory, which cuts energy consumption by 50%, and water consumption by 70%. Likewise, Sri Lanka also possesses LEED Platinum & Gold certified factories, which have successfully lowered their overheads, and provided faster returns on investment through recycling, effluent treatment, & waste management practises which meet international standards.

At the same time, Sri Lanka is a producer of Garments without Guilt. As the only outsourced apparel manufacturing country in Asia to have ratified all 27 International Labour Organisation conventions, Sri Lanka is a socially responsible, ethical apparel sourcing destination. The industry pays its workers fair wages, is proudly free of discrimination, forced & child labour, and actively discourages sweatshop practises.

Industry Sub-Sectors

Major Investors

  1. MAS Group
  2. Brandix Group
  3. EAM Maliban Textile (Pvt) Ltd
  4. Smart Shirts Lanka (Pvt) Ltd
  5. Sirio Ltd
  6. Polytex Garments Ltd
  7. Crystal Martin Group
  8. Hirdaramani Group
  9. Courtaulds Clothing Lanka (Pvt) Ltd
  10. Omegaline (Pvt) Ltd

Contact Details

Board of Investment, Sri Lanka

General Contact Information

Address Telephone Email Fax
Level 24, West Tower, World Trade Centre, Colombo 01 +94-11-2434403
+94-11-2346131 +94-11-2448105


Contact Person & Designation Telephone Email Fax
Office of the Chairman +94-11-2427002 +94-11-2447995
Office of the Director General +94-11-2448105 +94-11-2448105
Mr. Vidharshan Fernando – Exceutive Director +94 11 2477050 (0000)
+94 77 7734738
M.H. Casseer – Deputy Director (Country Desk for Australia & New Zealand) +94 11 2427122 (7122)
+94 77 7776779
Mr. Gamini Jayatilake–Director (Tourism, Agriculture & Knowledge Services) +94-11-2346341
Mr.Prasanjith Wijayatilake – Executive Director (Investment Promotion) +94 11 2335394 (7076)
+94 77 2801300
Ms.Nilupul de Silva – Director (Investment Promotion) +94 11 2346345 (7042)
+94 77 7915480
Mr.Mahinda Ramanayake – Executive Director (Investor Services) +94 11 2331911 (7432)
+94 77 3043241
Mr.Ananda Rajakaruna – Director (Investor Services) +94 11 2342401 (7430)
+94 77 7805772

Sri Lanka Export Development Board

General Contact Information

Address Telephone Email Fax
42, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 01 +94-11-2300705/11 +94-11-2300715


Contact Person & Designation Telephone Email
Mrs. Indira Malwatte – Chairperson & Chief Executive +94-11-2300712
Mrs. Jeevani Siriwardena – Director General +94-11-2300675
Ms. SS Jayawardena – Deputy Director (Apparel, Handloom, & Household Textiles) +94-11-3144616

Last modified on 10/02/2020

Visa Notice

The Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka has shifted from its Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) visa program to the New eVisa scheme, with effect from April 17, 2024. The ETA website was disconnected on April 16, 2024.
Accordingly, all eligible nationalities planning to enter Sri Lanka via air or sea, for the purpose of tourism, business and transit, should visit the "Official Sri Lanka eVisa Website" through the weblink to apply for their online visa to Sri Lanka.
The Official Sri Lanka eVisa Website, is the only authorized website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka from April 17,2024, 00:00 hrs.