Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Sajjad Ahmed, Deputy Business Editor
Indian footwear and leather exports to West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region registered an exponential growth of 20 per cent in the first half of the 2022 fiscal, from April to September, with the UAE followed by Saudi markets leading the uptake, according to the statutory India Government entity, the Council for Leather Exports (CLE).
Indian footwear and leather exports to the UAE grew by 31.72 per cent during the first half of 2022 to Dhs387.4 million ($105.48 million) compared to $80.05 million in 2021-22. Exports to Saudi Arabia grew to $28.56 million this year from last year’s $23.23 million, up by 22.94 per cent.
Opening the India Footwear and Leather Products Show 2022 in Dubai as part of the India Government’s export promotion drive across global markets, Sanjay Leekha said: “We believe the growth momentum for Indian exports to the region is all set to see a marked scaling up, particularly in the UAE, where we already have in force a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), while similar trade alliances are on the cards with other GCC and regional countries in the near future. As for footwear and leather exports, we are already on the road to a higher market share in WANA from the current 3.78 per cent this year.”
According to CLE data, Indian footwear and leather exports to WANA in 2021-22 fiscal was at Dhs677.30 million ($180.40 million), out of the total global exports of $4,872.70 million.
“In the WANA region, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the major markets. Under India-UAE CEPA, leather products and footwear have 0 per cent duty, and this will be a great game changer for Indian exports with substantial growth in sight,” Leekha said, adding that events such as India Footwear and Leather Products Show 2022, organised by Dubai-based Verifair, will further pave the way for higher Indian exports to the region.
The India Footwear and Leather Products Show 2022 will run from December 13-14, 2022.
“The expo comes at an opportune time for Indian exports with the regional and global markets poised for growth in a post-pandemic economic resurgence. In fact the Dubai show will be a thumping success considering there have been an overwhelming response from Indian exporters to be part of the show. We are expecting trade visitors from across the WANA region as well as from Europe and Asian countries looking to partner with Indian exporters. For many participants, the show will be a vantage point to foray and expand in the Middle East,” said Jeen Joshua, Managing Director, Verifair.
Besides trade agreements, India Government is also providing financial assistance for market promotion activities in the Middle East, said the CLE Chairman. He said that in the context of rising awareness about environment and fair trade practices, Indian tanning industry has adopted sustainable practices. Most of these tanneries are connected to Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), which are now being upgraded to maintain the highest environmental standards.
“We are emerging out of the pandemic slowdown when exports declined by 28 per cent in 2020-21. However, we have recovered significantly in last fiscal with exports registering a growth of 32 per cent overall, and the growth trend is continuing this year as well,” Leekha said, adding that even in markets like Europe where a slowdown has impacted trade, marketing activities are continuing with the confidence that these downturns are temporary and episodic with the potential to grow in the near future intact