The good news for all of us is that global import of leather, leather products and footwear had increased from USD 189.61 billion in 2017 to USD 199.35 billion, growing by 5.14%. This growth in imports, after two consecutive years of decline, offers us the opportunity for growth.
Our vision is to achieve an export value of USD 10.03 billion for leather, leather products and footwear by 2023-24 from the present level of USD 5.69 billion by achieving 12% annual growth in exports in next 6 years and to enhance our share in global trade from present 2.85% to about 4.7% in 2023-24. To achieve this, we need to achieve new milestones in various core areas namely product design and development, skill development, marketing, investment generation,
I had the opportunity to take part in many important meetings convened in New Delhi recently. These include Board of Trade and Council for Trade Promotion and Development, June 6, 2019, New Delhi ; Pre- Budget Consultation meeting, June 11, 2019, New Delhi , Meeting convened by DGFT, June 14, 2019, meeting on India – Russia Strategic Co-operation organized by Niti Aayog in New Delhi on July 10,2019.
In these meetings, I highlighted the potential for increasing exports of leather, leather products and footwear sector and stated that the sector has the potential to achieve 10% annual growth in exports by enhancing its market share in not only the traditional markets of Europe and USA but also potential markets In order to achieve the significant growth levels and also protect the domestic industry manufacturing value added products, I requested certain additional support measures like implementing Rebate of State and Central Levies scheme for leather, leather products and footwear sector , reduction of GST for footwear and inputs used in making footwear, additional support measures to penetrate US market, removal of animal quarantine clearance for all types of finished and crust leathers etc.,
Besides, I also had meetings with Senior Officials in Ministry of MSME., July 10, 2019 (wherein possibilities of availing MSME Ministry schemes by CLE was discussed), Ministry of Science and Technology (wherein issues pertaining to upgradation of CLRI centres in Kanpur and Kolkata and 50% reduction in CLRI fee for finished leather testing and certification were taken-up); Meeting with Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India , July 19, 2019, New Delhi (wherein skill development efforts in leather, leather products and footwear sector was discussed).
Besides, I also participated in the Meeting under Chairmanship of Ms. Nidhi Mani Tripathi, IAS, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry with top exporters of leather, leather products and footwear, July 9, 2019, New Delhi to discuss about export performance ; Meeting CLE with Joint Secretary, DPIIT, July 9, 2019, New Delhi along with representatives of retail brands and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on Promotion of Indian Brands, July 19, 2019, New Delhi.
Besides, I also met Thiru. D. Jayakumar, Hon’ble Minister for Fisheries, Govt. of Tamil Nadu , July 2, 2019. The Hon’ble Minister is representing Tamil Nadu in the GST Council. During this meeting, I submitted a representative seeking reduction of GST on footwear with sale price above Rs.1000/- and inputs used in making footwear from 18% to 12%
I also had the opportunity to meet His Excellency Mr. Asein Isaev, Ambassador, Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic in New Delhi on July 10, 2019 and discussed about enhancing business tie-ups between Indian and Kyrgyz Leather Sector. I am sure that with our efforts and handholding of the Government, we will be able to witness double digit export growth levels in coming years.