Global Guide

Why Choose Sri Lanka For Product Sourcing: 2023 Guide

Sri Lanka’s most exported good is its textiles and apparel, with 52% of its total exports. What else can this country offer?

Why Choose Sri Lanka For Product Sourcing: 2023 Guide

2023 Product Sourcing Guide - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's exports have expanded in recent decades. Government assistance, the rising experience and competence of local industrialists and exporters, and growth in foreign investment have helped the export sector capture new global markets.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for locally-made clothes and agricultural products was steady worldwide. Sri Lanka exported different products post-COVID-19, creating tough rivalry for regional exporters.

Why choose Sri Lanka for product sourcing?

‍You might not know this, but some of the biggest sportswear brands have been sourcing from Sri Lanka for their US and EU markets. The country is even known as an important destination for knitted sportswear manufacturing and innovations within the textile industry. 

Wool is new to the textile industry in Sri Lanka, with dependence on India or China for yarn sourcing. But due to the availability of the latest knitting technology, wool for casual and sportswear is entering this region.

Product outsourcing in Sri Lanka: Temples around Sri Lanka

What are Sri Lanka’s Top Exports?

‍If you’re looking to outsource products from Sri Lanka, it’s better to know what they’re really good at. The top exports of Sri Lanka are the following:

Textiles and Apparel

Sri Lanka’s most exported good is its textiles and apparel, with 52% of its total exports. Changing fashion trends have raised the demand for Sri Lankan ethical clothing, especially since it is reliable, socially acceptable, and eco-friendly.

Sri Lanka is also well-known around the world for its labor-ethical standards. According to the Board of Investments (BOI) standards, all factories in the country have employee councils where employees and employers collaborate to resolve issues of concern.‍

Inside a factory

Most plants are also subjected to third-party audits to guarantee compliance with both local legislation and buyer-specified standards. Generally, a factory employee in Sri Lanka is paid Rs. 40,000 per month or around $500, which includes transportation, meals, insurance, and other benefits.

It’s good to know that there are no sweatshops or underage workers in the sector. As a result, clothing created in Sri Lanka is marketed as "Garments Without Guilt" in international markets.

Local textiles' dependency on global fashion firms has also helped the country create a separate brand name, attracting customers from numerous worldwide marketplaces. Each garment that leaves the country with the label “Made in Sri Lanka” symbolizes quality, reliability, and accountability.

Ceylon Tea

Woman handpicks plant for product outsourcing in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, there’s a familiar taste that locals have been offering internationally. It’s called Ceylon’s tea. This drink has a peculiar flavor influenced by being solely handpicked, primarily using the two leaves and bud method. About 93% of Ceylon tea produced annually is made through artisanal and orthodox methods, unlike the CTC method used globally.

Currently, most of the country's tea is exported as Ceylon Black Tea, but the country also produces Ceylon Green Tea, derived from Assamese seedlings.

Ceylon White Tea, namely silver and golden tips, is known worldwide for its exquisite flavor and is one of the most costly tea varietals available.

Plant leaves

Sri Lanka produces tea annually, with a total annual production of roughly 340 million kilograms. The tea-growing areas of Sri Lanka are primarily centered in the island's central highlands and southern interior areas.

The Ceylon tea industry maintains the finest quality worldwide, with ISO 3720 serving as the minimum requirement. In terms of pesticide residues, the country is capable of producing the cleanest tea in the world. In 2012, methyl bromide was phased out of the manufacturing process.

Ceylon tea also adheres to the demanding ISO 22000 series as well as the European Community's health and safety standards.

Ceylon Spices

Most famous spices in Sri Lanka

If you’re more interested in spices, this one is for you. Sri Lanka's principal spices are cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, and mace, and the country is the world's ninth-largest exporter of spices.

While most Ceylon spices are sold in bulk, unprocessed form, the country also exports essential oils and oleoresins derived from spices and herbs. Furthermore, the growing popularity of Sri Lankan cuisine has resulted in a thriving market of Sri Lankan condiments and spice preparations.

Rubber/Latex Products

Process of making rubber and latex

Sri Lanka ranks 12th in rubber exports. Before dwindling latex production, the country ranked fourth because the sector led exports for more than 140 years. Despite competition from countries undertaking rubber cultivation, 70% of Sri Lanka's rubber is currently converted and released to the market.

Precious Metal and Gems

beautiful and colorful jewelry for product outsourcing in Sri Lanka‍

Sri Lanka has several in-demand gemstones, and its jewelry sector exports modern gems and embedded jewelry. The island is one of the top five global gem exporters, supplying 75 distinct sorts to the market.

Gems include Beryl, Chrysoberyl, Corundum, Feldspar, Garnet, Quartz, Spinel, Topaz, Tourmaline, and Zircon. Only 20% of the country's jewels have been examined despite two-thirds of its area.


As a country strategically located near the equator, Sri Lanka enjoys year-round warm temperatures, making it an ideal setting for cultivating seafood. Sri Lanka's fisheries industry includes offshore and deep-sea fishing, coastal fishing, interior fishing, and aquaculture. Sri Lanka is renowned for various unique foods, including finfish, crabs, prawns, shrimp, and mollusks.

Image of fishes and seafood

Sustainably caught in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka's seafood is among the world's finest. Whether it's fish, mollusks, or crustaceans, our fishermen and divers only take the best.

The tropical waters are home to teeming schools of marine life, which are collected using methods and equipment that are both environmentally friendly and gentle on the animals gathered.

By adhering to standard processes in processing and production, they are recognized as a provider of superior products for sale on the international market.

Should Your Business Source From Sri Lanka?

Living in Sri Lanka's oceans

Sri Lanka is among the few countries that have achieved the Millennium Development Goals. It is the second wealthiest nation in South Asia, with a growth of 6.4% each year from 2003 to 2012, making it a rapidly developing nation. 

Many areas of the country's economy do well domestically and internationally. Not to mention, Sri Lanka produces a wide variety of marketable goods.

Sri Lanka also has a strong ranking in maritime transport (25th in the world) and has maintained steady infrastructure development over the past decade. Government and international investment have been crucial to this expansion, especially during the boom years of 2014 and 2017. The government's efforts to restore Sri Lanka's status as a manufacturing powerhouse during the conflict bode well for sustained prosperity.

Sri Lanka manufactures and exports a wide range of goods at competitive prices. There are many chances for local buyers and businesses aiming to expand their profit margins, which is why it would be a good option for you to start sourcing your products here.

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What are the 3 main economic sectors in Sri Lanka?

The 3 main economic sectors in Sri Lanka are tourism, tea export, apparel, textile, rice production, and other agricultural products.

What are Sri Lanka's most valuable resources?

Sri Lanka's most valuable resources include limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, and phosphate. Agricultural products include tea, rubber, coconuts, rice, and spices. The industry comprises textiles and garments, chemicals and petroleum products, food processing, wood, and wood products, basic metal products, and paper and paper products.