SL apparel industry will rebound: Sharma

Colombo, Oct 17 (Representative) Coats International Global CEO Rajiv Sharma says he is confident that Sri Lanka’s apparel industry will rebound and the economy will bounce back. “It’s actually happening as we speak, despite the last three months of unrest and confusion,” the Daily FT newspaper on Monday quoted him as saying. Sharma, who was on a flying visit to Sri Lanka to meet customers and employees, says the vibe was very good in the country. “You could never get a Sri Lankan down or depressed because there’s always happiness, optimism and a belief that tomorrow will be better than today.” The CEO says the support the country gets internationally was clearly seen, owing to the goodwill Sri Lanka has built over several decades.

“I meet customers in Europe and the US who are empathetic and are genuinely willing to support Sri Lanka and its apparel industry. Everyone wants to go the extra mile with their support. The way I see it, this crisis is just a bump along the road to greater prosperity for Sri Lanka.” Sharma also spoke positively about the global market. “There is no demand destruction happening at a large-scale. So I believe the world economy will continue to be resilient. While there will be intermittent shocks, if you break it down into its components, I think the US and the Americas broadly, will be less impacted by what’s happening globally.” He added that Europe was in a difficult spot and would remain an area of concern as the chances of a recession have increased, but says Asia was looking relatively strong.

The Coats Global CEO says Sri Lanka is special for the industry and Coats because of its people. “It is the human capital in this country that allows it to punch above its weight. When you meet people in the industry, there’s optimism, expertise, courage and specialisation based on a track record of delivery. There are industry giants that have originated from Sri Lanka.” Sharma says the kind of garments manufactured locally were very complex and cannot be transported or made in Africa or some other country, adding that Sri Lanka has the skill, modern machinery and good management that is needed for delivering this complexity, in abundance. The CEO says his wish to have more employees from Coats Sri Lanka taking on regional and global roles in Coats.