Three-day international leather festival to begin today

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 30, 2019

The 34th edition of India International Leather Fair (IILF) will kick off in Chennai on Thursday, highlighting the export prowess of Indian leather entrepreneurs, the industry’s achievements, use of latest technologies and innovations with an eco-friendly tag.

The three-day fair will aim to project India as an investment destination and a manufacturing hub for finished leather product design, said PR Aqeel Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports (CLE), which is organising the annual event in association with the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), the Indian Shoe Federation, the Indian Finished Leather Manufacturers & Exporters Association and the Indian Footwear Component Manufacturers’ Association.

International exhibitors

The fair will have participation from over 450 exhibitors from across the world, and is expected to see over 10,000 visitors. It will be inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam on Thursday evening, Ahmed told newspersons.

This year, the fair will also manifest its commitment to Centre’s initiatives like Make in India, Digital India and Swachh Bharat, said Ahmed.

The fair is also being held in the backdrop of improved business climate with export of leather, leather products and footwear in April to November 2018 registering a 6 per cent growth (in rupee terms) to ₹26,101 crore as against ₹24,677 crore in the same period last year.

“We hope to end the year with around 8 per cent growth. The industry has the potential to achieve 9-10 per cent export growth in the next two years,” he said.

Trade with China

Ahmed said while the Indian leather and footwear industry was able to penetrate new markets such as the US, Russia, Japan, Australia and Poland in the last four years, there is an increased focus on tapping into the Chinese market. The escalating trade war between China and the US is an opportunity for Indian industry to fill the gap.

“We have increased our marketing efforts in China in the last couple of years, and its effect will be reflected in the fair with a sizeable delegation from China,” he said.

‘Greening the Leather’ will be the theme pavilion to highlight the dexterity of Indian expertise in eco-friendly designs and the development of high quality leather wears from finished leather, he said.

Israr Ahmed, Regional Chairman-South, CLE, said that there is a plan to set up an MSME leather park in Vellore district, which has the most number of leather units in the State.

Around 100 acres of land is being sought from the State government for the park, which will attract investment of over ₹350 crore, he said.

Published on January 30, 2019

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