The event took place in São Paulo, the largest metropolitan city of Brazil with the participation of nine leading apparel exporters - Brandix Lanka Ltd, Hirdramani Group of Companies, E.A.M. Maliban Textiles Ltd, Timex Garments Ltd, Trendy Connections Ltd, Classic Garment Ltd, Globe Knitting Ltd and Rakshaa Ltd and Stylish Garments Ltd.
Sri Lankan companies showcased a variety of products selected specifically for the Brazilian apparel market at a mini Exhibition during the first three days of the promotional programme. They attended business meetings with renowned companies in Brazil including C&A, Lojas Renner, Grupo Guararapes, Riachuelo, Casas Pernambucanas, Hope, Inverso, GEP and Caedu Atacadista.
Brazil is considered to be one of the fastest expanding apparel markets in the world, with a staggering average annual import growth over 33% during the last couple of years. According to statistics by International Trade Centre (ITC), the total apparel imports into Brazil, which stood at US$ 767 million in 2009, leaped to reach US$ 2.37 billion in 2013. However, Sri Lanka's apparel exports stood at mere US$ 11.73 million which accounted only for 0.5% of the total apparel importation to Brazil. Sri Lankan apparel exporters are of the view that the high import duty of 35% is the biggest barrier in tapping this huge potential.
The visit of H.E. Mr. Raja Edirisuriya, the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Brazil gave an opportunity for Sri Lankan exporters to discuss in detail the ways and means to enter the huge Brazilian apparel market. H.E. the Ambassador vowed that he would draw the attention of the Sri Lankan authorities to look into the possible bilateral arrangements to address the high tariff issue. Ambassador Edirisuriya also highlighted the importance of frequent engagement in promotional events in Brazil including participation in product-specific trade fairs such as ‘Brazil International Apparel Sourcing Show’ scheduled for May 2015.
Apart from apparel, there is a good potential in Brazil for rubber products, tableware & kitchenware, tea, spices and cosmetics. Ambassador Edirisuriya said that the Embassy is vigorously working towards promoting these products. He also noted Sri Lanka Tourism as an area with huge potential. In order to attract more tourists from Brazil, Ambassador said, the Embassy is planning to organize a tourism promotional event in Sao Paulo during the first quarter of 2015.
Mr. Premathilake Jayakody, First Secretary (Commercial) of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brazil and Ms. Sepalika Jayawardhana, Deputy Director of the Export Development Board engaged in the promotional activities throughout the event.