Leather and leather products exports are set to reach a new high of $4.5 billion during 2011-12 recording a growth of over 27 per cent over last year, according to Mr P.R. Aqeel Ahmed, Regional Chairman-South, Council for Leather Exports.
While it misses the targeted $4.7 billion, the export growth has been achieved in the face of slowdown in the global economy and the sliding value of the Rupee which has made imports of raw material expensive, he said. Focus on high value products, a segment in which Indian exporters have established a global reputation, targeting new markets. Last year the exports were $3.5 billion.
The industry is confident of sustaining this growth in the coming year and is positioned achieve the Government of India's target of $14 billion in 2016-17 with Government support in the face of the tough situation in Europe.
The growth has come from across the range of product segments including leather footwear which accounts for about 40 per cent of the exports followed up with garments that account for about 10 per cent. The industry has moved to products exports from being an exporter of finished leather, which now contributes a small portion, he said.
Mr Ahmed was addressing media persons on the eve of the 27th India International Leather Fair (IILF) 2012, to be inaugurated on Tuesday. The event which runs up to February 3 is organised by the CLE and the India Trade Promotion Organisation.
The CLE which comes under the Commerce Ministry, has sought a number of support measures such as implementation of 2 per cent interest subvention for leather sector in 2012-13; hiking Duty Free Import Scheme to 5 per cent from the present 3 per cent; exemption from service tax on tanning, CETPs and for export promotion councils with retrospective effect from 2005; support for creating social infrastructure like hostels and dormitories for women; clarification that Tax Deduction at Source will not apply for independent foreign agents who only secure export orders.
The CLE has also sought Central Excise exemption for footwear, cut in Central Excise duty on leather goods to 5 per cent from the prevailing 10 per cent. The IILF is one of the largest industry events with more than 400 exhibitors including 130 overseas participants who will showcase a comprehensive range of goods and services spread over 9,500 sq m exhibition area.