India’s leather industry looks to exploit China’s loss

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Chennai | Updated: February 3, 2016 12:31:33 AM

India’s leather industry is exploring ways to firm up exports to the US and other countries in the wake of Chinese exports to these countries getting more expensive due to escalating production costs in China n With an around $12-billion turnover at present, the leather industry has been identified as a focus sector under the Make In India scheme

The country’s leather industry is exploring ways to beef up exports to the US and other countries in the wake of Chinese exports to these countries getting more expensive due to escalating production costs in China. The Council of Leather Exports (CLE), the nodal agency under the ministry of commerce, is looking to exploit the situation to India’s advantage.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of announcing the launch of the 19th International Technical Footwear Congress in Chennai on Tuesday, the CLE officials said while so far the Indian exports were more focussed in European countries, there is an increased opportunity in the US and other countries, which is opening up for the Indian exporters.

“Markets like US has been mainly served by China so far, but with the cost of production going up in China the products from the country is getting expensive and India has an advantage to export to these countries,” said P R Aqeel Ahmed, regional chairman – south, CLE.

The International Technical Footwear Congress is being organised in India for the first time in collaboration with the International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians (UITIC).

India is one of the largest footwear manufacturers, with around 10% to 15% being exported, while the rest is sold within the country. Almost 65% of the leather exports is to Europe while the US was not an impressive market so far.

With an around $12-billion turnover currently, the leather industry has been identified as a focus sector under the Make In India scheme. The country is planning to increase the business to around $27 billion by 2020, by when the domestic business would be around $15 billion, according to the officials.

“We are confident that the future of the leather industry is bright, as there is emerging opportunity both in domestic as well as export market,” said Naresh S Bhasin, regional chairman – west, CLE.

The industry has already started training programmes to create adequate skilled manpower to meet the target and expect more overseas companies to come to India and set up their operations in the future.

The Technical Footwear Congress would discuss the latest developments in the footwear manufacturing, under the theme Future Footwear Factory, with topics including the intelligent manufacturing and digital smart factory, sustainable and regulatory trends impacting factories, attractive footwear factories and new ways of management. Around 403 Indian and 165 overseas delegates from 27 countries would participate in the event, scheduled to start on February 3, 2016.

CLE is also the largest representative organisation of the Indian leather industry with over 3,500 leather, leather products, footwear manufacturing and exporting firms as its members.

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