Bangladesh footwear major eyes Indian, EU marketsJune 30th, 2010 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS
Dhaka, June 30 (IANS) Leather footwear maker Fortuna Bangladesh is eyeing Indian and Chinese markets and hopes to compete with the two in the European Union.
Many importers are seeking leather footwear from Bangladesh due to rising production costs and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s restrictive rules, a senior official of the group claimed.
“Many buyers from China are now coming to Bangladesh as their cost of labour is increasing. Many European buyers are also looking to take advantage of the duty-free export facility to the EU as an additional 16.5 percent tax is levied on footwear exports from China,” said Fayaz Taher, chief executive (manufacturing and retail division) of Fortuna Bangladesh.
“Many countries, like China and India, are failing to produce high quality but low-cost leather items because of the WTO anti-dumping rules. So, orders from Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Canada are increasingly shifting to the local manufacturers,” Taher told The Daily Star.
The group is poised to set up a new factory spending Taka 560 million ($eight million) and raise its capacity from 2,500 to 6,000 pairs a day.
Taher said the group is expecting to earn foreign currency worth Taka two billion ($28 million) a year by exporting the footwear.
“I believe this will be the next garment industry for Bangladesh,” he said, referring to the country’s highest export earner that netted $19 billion last year.
Earlier, China, India and Vietnam were the largest leather shoe exporters.
The Fortuna group is also establishing the country’s first shoe mould manufacturing factory by September.
“We will manufacture plastic mould that is now being sourced from China and India. Once we are done, it will help ensure a perfect shape of our shoes,” he said.
At present, most local footwear companies are using wooden moulds that cannot assure an accurate shape.
A traditional exporter of leather, Bangladesh exports six million pairs of shoes, 45 percent of its produce, every year.
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