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PVH to Tap Into Benefits From Sri Lanka China FTA

Sri Lanka and China are in talks to establish a free trade agreement, and though the deal isn’t yet settled, PVH has already expressed its excitement at the prospect.

At a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka last month, PVH executive vice president Mark Green and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen discussed what the trade agreement could mean for the country and for the company.

“Having duty free market access to China is very important for us as an apparel sourcing firm and the benefits are great. This is even more important for us since we have considerable income from Asia—30% of our turnover from Calvin Klein brand alone originates from Asia!” Green said.

PVH recently opened at office at the World Trade Center in Sri Lanka and have since reached $80 million in business with the nation, Green said. He also touted Sri Lanka’s superiority in intimate apparel manufacturing and at keeping compliant.

“We are looking at working with Lankan apparel makers MAS, Brandix, Jinadasa, and Hirdramani Group–they are our big suppliers. We want to grow our business here further,” Green said.

PVH, which operates brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Van Heusen, saw $8.2 billion in revenues in 2013 and Sri Lanka is keen to grow its business with the company.

“We are aiming for new levels of bilateral trade cooperation with China and under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” Minister Bathiudeen said, adding that the country is looking forward to making apparel duty free under the Sri Lanka-China FTA. “There is no doubt that this historic agreement would be a great opportunity not only for PVH but many such global multinationals who want to leverage our strategic hub positioning,” he added.

According to Sri Lanka’s Department of Commerce, bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and China grew 15.2% to $3.08 billion in 2013, up from $2.67 billion the year prior. Sri Lanka’s exports to China increased by 12.5% to $122 million from $108 million in 2012.