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Italy to help Agra's footwear industry

By Vishal Sharma in Agra
February 08, 2006 10:57 IST
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The footwear industry of Agra could finally come around now, with the Indian Council for Leather Exports establishing an Indian leather desk in Milan, Italy.

This will help the footwear industry get the help of Italian technology known for world-class footwear components and will boost the export of Indian shoes to Italy.

According to the CLE sources, the India Leather Desk, established by the CLE on 1st January this year in consultation with the Embassy of India, Rome and the Consulate General of Italy, Milan, shall promote joint ventures in India besides giving an impetus to India's leather product export to Italy, thereby improving Indo-Italian business relations in the Leather sector.

On Monday, Mario Pucci, head of the India Leather Desk, held a meeting with the Agra Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Chamber in Agra to discuss the various ways in which the Indo-Italian cooperation could be increased in the footwear industry.

He said that despite being a major business partner of Italy in terms of leather footwear, India lagged behind China exporting 6.2 million pairs of shoes to Italy, while China scored a total of over 6.6 million pairs.

According to Pucci, Italy was slowly emerging as a leader in the manufacture of footwear components and India was already a decisive power in the footwear market and it had been decided recently that while Italy shall be providing world-class technology for footwear manufacture to India.

The Indian footwear industry shall also get a level playing field in the Italian market with the database of Indian footwear manufacturers being provided to the Italian importers by the leather Desk.

Puran Dawar, director, Dawar Footwear and CEO, Agra Footwear Infrastructure Development Company engaged in the development of a Footwear Components Park in Agra said that the Agra footwear industry would get the maximum benefit from the setting up of this Indian Leather Desk in Italy.

While the footwear manufactured by the Agra units were ready to face the competitive market, it was in terms of footwear components, that there was a lot of scope for improvement.

He said that there were atleast 50 different components in a shoe, which includes soles, thread, laces etc. that were outsourced by the Agra footwear manufacturers either locally or from abroad, especially Italy.

He said that though there were some units engaged in the manufacture of different footwear components in Agra, the quality was not up to the mark.

According to Dawar, with the setting up of Agra Footwear Components Park project delayed due problems with land acquisition.  Italy is the only source for relatively cheap and world-class footwear components available to the Agra industrialists.

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Vishal Sharma in Agra
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