Feb 04, 2017

Footwear and leather imports rise by 28 percent

Sri Lanka’s first footwear and leather industry hub is coming up–and it’s the Eastern Province that shall be hosting it. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan footwear and leather exports too have jumped by a strong 28%!

“We are planning to set up Sri Lanka’s first footwear and leather industry city in the Eastern province” announced the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on Friday  3 in Colombo.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inaugural event of National Footwear and Leather  Exhibition “Footwear and Leather Fair ‘17” at BMICH, Colombo . The ninth Exhibition in this series, it is organized by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with the Industrial Development Board, Sri Lanka Footwear and Leather Products Manufactures Association, and Export Development Board. It is scheduled to be closed on 5th February. In addition to Sri Lankan manufacturers, 34 Indian firms representing India’s Confederation of Indian Footwear Industry, Council for Leather Exports and Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers Association are also joining the event. India is the world’s second largest leather shoe manufacturer.

In a background of rising “middle class consumption” and demand for luxury goods across the world I, he expressed the belief  that footwear has great promise for branding of Sri Lanka in international markets through a low cost export product. As the middle income population increases it is clear that the demand for designer footwear too would rise rapidly. Even though Casual footwear are leading the growth at present with more and more people entering an active sports lifestyle demand for athletic and sports footwear too are driving this growth. . Realising the importance of the footwear industry in addition to supporting this exhibition series the  Ministry has also initiated several projects to develop this sector Establishment of a Footwear and Leather goods Training School is progressing well at Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel Ratmalana. More than Rs 19 million of investment has been made   for this project as of now. I also Obtained Cabinet approval for setting up a Dedicated Leather and Leather Goods Manufacturing Complex in Baticaloa District at an estimated cost of Rs. 450 Million.

A key objective of foreign participant facilitation to this series by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is tech transfer. Chennai based GTFC, a footwear materials and components supplier, is joining the Colombo fair for the first time and showed high enthusiasm. “GTFC and Rhenoflex – Germany are here for the first time.  Today we are introducing modern, green manufacturing based, recyclable shoe components to Sri Lanka through our partner India’s GTFC, for the first time through this Fair” said Rhenoflex Germany’s Vice Sales Director Rainer Godel. “We are exploring to partner with Lankan manufacturers in many ways” he added.

Sri Lanka’s Footwear and Leather Fair series was initially commenced by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce way back 2007 with a few stalls but today it has grown to become an international level exhibition, opening new doors of opportunities to surging Lankan Ft & Leather sector.