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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

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Leather exporters score gains in German, Italian markets

Indrani Dutta

According to industry sources, about 62 per cent of the country's total exports of leather and leather products were destined for the European Union.

Kolkata May 3

GERMANY, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Greece were among the countries, which increased their offtake of leather goods from India between April and December 2003.

The Union Commerce Ministry statistics shows that Greece, which had a less than 0.5 per cent share in India's total leather exports in 2002-03, scored the biggest gain with an increase of 105.6 per cent in the period under review over the same period last year. Leather, leather footwear and leather goods were some of the items, which found increased acceptance in the Greek market.

Germany, which is the single largest buyer of Indian leather items, with a 14.3 per cent share, increased its imports by 7.2 per cent, buying more of footwear — leather and non-leather — as well as saddlery and harness. Exporters of other leather items such as garments, leather goods, footwear components and leather, however, suffered loss of market in the first nine months of 2003-04.

Exports to Italy, which is also a major market with a 12.4 per cent share, increased during the period under review. The 5.3 per cent increase in offtake of Indian leather items came through higher imports of leather and non-leather footwear, saddlery and harness.

Pointing out that the European Union (EU) was a major market for Indian leather and leather products, industry sources said that about 62 per cent of the country's total exports of leather and leather products were destined for the EU.

Sources said that the overall import of leather and leather products into the EU had remained stagnant over the last three years and India had a share of a little over four per cent of that market in 2002-03.

While Indian exporters were able to improve their positions in most of the important EU markets in the first nine months of 2003-04, they suffered losses in important markets such as the UK, the US, Russia, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Portugal. Taken together these countries have a share of over 30 per cent in India's leather exports.

Commenting on the losses suffered in the US market, sources said that the impact had been felt sharply in respect of shoe components - although almost all other sectors barring footwear - were also on the hit list.

The US is the second biggest market for leather exporters after Germany. The Council for Leather Exports (CLE), the Union Commerce Ministry sponsored body, is engaged in a marketing drive to recoup the losses suffered since the 9/11 attacks. The US, Japan and CIS were among the thrust markets identified for action by CLE.

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