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Placing the right shoe forward...

With the Indian leather industry facing tough times due to inconsistent European markets, leather associations are looking at making competitive products that adhere to European standards. Germany is the largest importer of Indian Leather. In 2014-15, Germany imported shoes worth 260 million euros, clothes worth 170 million euros and suitcases and bags worth 160 million euros. With tighter norms to export to Europe, several stake holders from the leather sector discussed on the measures required to be taken to enhance exports, in particular to Germany. The Roundtable organised by Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in partnership with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) with the support of TANSTIA-FNF Service Center (TFSC) discussed issues related to quality and product safety as also measures required to enhance exports.

The leather sector in India is a major contributor to export and is one of the focus sectors for the Make In India campaign. Around Rs 1500 crore has been allocated to boost this sector. The stake holders at the meet suggested removing unwanted tests to export the finished leather as it involves time and money and also requested BIS to formulate specific standards for quality tests.

With regulations becoming tough by the day, the industry is gearing up to face the challenge. “By 2018 the norms will become stricter and it will become difficult for the industry to meet these,” said P R Aqeel Ahmed, Regional Chairman, Southern Region, Council of Leather Exports. The leather industry in Tamil Nadu is a unique model of efficient industry-institute collaboration. With the strong academia and technological support of the Central Leather Research Institute, the industry in Tamil Nadu has matured. Ahmed pointed to the Leather Week 2016 celebrated from 31 January. Several technical sessions and the regular International Leather Fair and LERIG meets are planned during the week.

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