Local apparel industry working with USA to increase PPE exports
Sri Lankan apparel producers are being aided by the US to increase the export of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the region.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is running a programme to this effect, implemented by Deloitte Consulting, which hosted two webinars in partnership with the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) to help over 100 participants break into the US market.
The first webinar explained the relevant US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and how to comply with them. Experts on the classifications applicable to PPE exports and the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorisation (implemented temporarily during the COVID-19 crisis) engaged with participants and walked them through the process.
The second webinar focused on accessing the US market and featured in-depth discussions with US experts on market demand for PPE, including federal demand, distribution chains, and how to sell to the US Federal Government. Participants learned about US Government acquisition regulations, and examined criteria to consider in deciding whether PPE manufacturing would be a feasible and strategic long-term decision.
Sri Lanka’s apparel sector has emerged over the years as a leading supplier of ethically-manufactured high-quality apparel for global fashion brands and markets, and is therefore, well-positioned to produce and export PPE, which is a rapidly expanding and highly competitive new market arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US PPE market in particular requires suppliers of PPE to comply with standards, especially for higher risk products.
Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is an important sector of the economy, generating substantial foreign exchange and livelihoods for almost one million workers. It has been adversely affected by COVID-19; hence apparel exporters are looking to reposition their exports, including the production of PPE, to sustain operations.