Indian leather industry making presence felt globally

June 10th, 2008 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) The Indian leather industry, especially the footwear segment, is making a mark globally even as China, dominating the low-cost segment, struggles to keep production costs under control. American buyers are now looking at India, as traditional Chinese suppliers witness a major increase in input costs, said representatives of the Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers’ Association (IFCOMA) at the launch of the Footwear Machinery and Technology exhibition here Tuesday.

According to them, India’s leather goods exports, especially of the footwear segment, is increasing. Although the second largest producer of footwear in the world, it lags far behind China in exports.

“The total export of leather goods stands at $2,982 million in comparison to a meagre $290 million in 1956-57,” says Michael Duck, senior vice-president of the Asia Pacific Leather Fair Ltd.

In comparison to China’s 900 million pairs, India exports just 100 million pairs to earn $1,210 million, but is looking at doubling exports in the next five years.

According to Duck, India accounts for 2.65 percent of the world trade in leather and leather goods. But with the government setting an export target of $7 billion for the year 2010-11, the country is all set to emerge as a major player in the world, he said.

Next year’s exhibition is expected to boost the Indian leather industry with as many as over 100 participants expected from America, Europe, Japan, South America, Japan, China and Taiwan alone.

The leather industry is waiting for subsidy to be announced for the leather industry. “This will help us to market our products globally,” said Indian Shoe Federation president Aqeel Ahmed.

Increase in exports and capacity is also expected to create more jobs. Presently, about 2.5 million workers are involved in the leather industry, in both organised and unorganised sectors.

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