Leather exports top $3 bn mark

Chennai, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Export of leather and its products have surpassed the $3 billion mark. It posted a 15% growth in 2006-07 to touch $3.1 billion. By 2011-12 leather exports would be $7 billion, Jairam Ramesh, Union minister of state for commerce said here on Tuesday. He said, at 38%, footwear was the major component of the export basket. The share of foot wear and components would go up to 56% by 2012, he said.

The appreciating rupee has been hitting the leather industry hard. Transaction cost adjustments and incentives would be needed for export industries that compete with others on the price front, the minister said.

Ramesh said that there was a proposal to develop leather industry in Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar. Both the states have very good raw material base. He added that the leather industry in Tamil Nadu was committed to the Pollution Control Board order of zero liquid discharge. The deadline set for this is August 2007. The industry would not seek a review of the order but will request for more time. The investment needed for the establishment of ZLD systems is Rs 120 crore. It has been decided that the Centre would contribute 50% of the cost and the state government 15%. The industry would bear 35% of the cost and the system would be in place in six months.

There was a proposal to link large leather companies to women self-help groups and support them by providing raw materials, designs and marketing assistance. The initiative is to be opened in Kancheepuram district. It would be taken to other areas in the country.

There was also a proposal to set up a leather design and development institute in Chennai.