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India to be `focus country' at Italian shoe expo

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SHARING A LIGHTER MOMENT: Riccardo Fabiani of Italprogetti (left), Mario Pucci, CLE consultant in Italy (centre) and Amjad Hafeez, a tanner from Pakistan, at a seminar in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: Shaju John
SHARING A LIGHTER MOMENT: Riccardo Fabiani of Italprogetti (left), Mario Pucci, CLE consultant in Italy (centre) and Amjad Hafeez, a tanner from Pakistan, at a seminar in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: Shaju John

Staff Reporter

It will promote collateral initiatives for leather companies

CHENNAI: India will be the `focus country' at this year's Expo Riva Schuh, one of the premier trade exhibitions for shoes in Italy.

Participation in the exhibition as a focus country is one of the initiatives proposed by the Indian Leather Desk set up in Italy by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) to promote leather products.

Apart from conferring an important role on India, the expo, scheduled between June 10 and 12, would serve as a forum for the council and the exhibition organisers to promote special collateral initiatives for Indian leather companies.

A convention for introducing European buyers to the Indian leather industry, and buyer-seller meetings have also been planned.

Announcing this at a seminar here on Wednesday, organised as part of the ongoing India International Trade Fair-2006, Mario Pucci, consultant at the Indian Leather Desk, said a top executive of the exhibition was here to sign a protocol agreement with the council. The seminar on `Tanning Industry Opportunities and Challenges' was organised by the Indian Finished Leather Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the CLE.

Other initiatives sought to be taken up by the CLE in Italy include the setting up of an Indian pavilion at the leather goods fair in Mipel and organising a competition for 20 young Indian designers at the Lineapelle fair. The fair is popular globally for showcasing fashion trends in footwear, leather goods and garments, finished leather, footwear components and accessories.

He said the potential to improve cooperation between the countries in the field of leather and India's interest in promoting the products came out during the recent visit of CLE Executive Director K. Elangovan to Italy.

Mr. Pucci said Unac, the Italian National Association of Footwear Components, and CLE would soon hold a meeting in Marche, the footwear component cluster of Italy, to highlight the opportunities for joint ventures and foreign direct investment in India.

The Italian Association of Leather Goods Makers Aimpes was planning to bring a delegation of Italian manufacturers to the leather goods fair in Kolkata in February next year.

Saying there was considerable scope for enhancing leather exports to Italy, he urged the leather industry to capitalise on growing attention being paid to India by the media and the resultant public opinion. Though China continues to be the leader in export of leather footwear and goods to Italy, India's share was on the rise.

Riccardo Fabiani of Italprogetti highlighted the modern tannery engineering practices and underscored the need for improving the quality of the products, increasing the production and reducing the cost.

A director of Muhammad Shafi Tanneries in Pakistan, Amjad Hafeez, said capacity utilisation would bring down the cost of production.

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