The United States is helping Sri Lankan apparel producers to export Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the United States.
In partnership with the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), the program included two webinars for over 100 industry participants that prepared them to break into the U.S. market.
The project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and is implemented by Deloitte Consulting, the US Embassy in Colombo said.
The first webinar explained how to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations. Experts on the classifications applicable to PPE exports and the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (implemented temporarily during the Covid-19 crisis) engaged with participants and walked them through the process.
The second webinar focused on accessing the U.S. market and featured in-depth discussions with U.S. experts on market demand for PPE, including federal demand, distribution chains, and how to sell to the U.S. federal government. Participants learned about U.S. 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 U.S. 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, the apparel exporters are looking to reposition their exports, including the production of PPE, to sustain their operations.