The country’s leather and footwear exports are expected to cross USD 6 billion (about Rs 44,800 crore) in 2022-23 on account of increasing demand in the US and new markets such as Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Chairman of the Council for Leather Exports, Sanjay Leekha said.
Leekha added that implementation of recently signed free trade agreement between India and the UAE would also help in pushing the exports further besides creating employment in the sector.
During April-January this fiscal, leather and leather products exports rose by 33 per cent to USD 3.6 billion. The exports stood at USD 3.3 billion in 2020-21 and USD 4.7 billion in 2019-20.
“We are getting good response from the US and that too from big brands. We are also looking to record healthy growth in Latin America, the Middle east, and Europe. In this backdrop, we are confident that we would cross USD 6 billion in 2022-23,” Sanjay Leekha said.
He added that the order books are healthy and the industry is upbeat about recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the industry is labor-intensive, providing employment to 45 lakh people.
“The sector has the potential to reach a total turnover of USD 30 billion in next five years, which includes the domestic turnover of USD 20 billion and export turnover of USD 10 billion and generate additional employment for 15 lakh more people,” he added.
The industry is also urging the government to extend the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to the sector.
The government recently approved the Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP) for continuation from 2021-22 with an approved financial outlay of Rs 1,700 crore.