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Sri Lanka's footwear and leather exports in 2015 shows strong growthThursday, February 18, 2016 > 09:46:27
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said " Sri Lanka's footwear and leather exports in 2015 increased to $110 Million showing strong growth trends and EDB’s efforts. What we need to understand in this is that almost 80 percent of these were footwear exports. The global footwear market is expected to exceed $ 370 billion by 2020."
He further said that with the increase of middle income population and female workforce, it is clear that the demand for designer footwear too would rise rapidly.
Minister Bathiudeen was speaking after inauguration of the eighth edition of the Footwear and Leather Exhibition 2016 on February 5 at the BMICH in Colombo. The Exhibition concluded on February 7.
The Minister further said "even though Casual footwear are leading the growth at present, with more and more people entering an active sports lifestyle, demand for athletic and sports footwear too are driving this growth. Specially athletic footwear manufacturing is attractive for another reason. That is due to the higher profit margins that it offers. Since levels and finish of raw material for athletic footwear is lower than fashion shoes their manufacturing costs are lower, they offer bigger margins in the global market-as much as 45%", and added that Sri Lankan manufacturers and exporters should pay closer attention to this sector.
Addressing the event, Chairperson and CEO of EDB Indira Malwatte said that the footwear and leather has the potential to grow as a promising exports sector if all the stakeholders collaborate in a concerted manner –and expressed confidence that the sector can take forward this exhibition on its own in future. “At present the industry employs 40000 directly and indirectly producing a diverse range of shoes. The leather industry produces gloves, wallets.”
“Sri Lanka exports footwear to a number of international brands, indicating our potential. We have a committed private sector who have been engaging in this industry. We are confident the footwear and leather industry graduated to a point where from now, they can take this show forward by themselves. EDB will continue to support this sector", she added.
Among the EDB facilitated global buyers at the event was Executive Secretary of Kenya’s Leather Articles Entrepreneurs Association, Beatrice Mwasi.
A joint effort of Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Industrial Development Board and Sri Lanka Footwear and Leather Products Manufacturers Association, the exhibition had 230 display stalls. EDB successfully facilitated no less than 30 international delegates from five countries India, Kenya, Oman, Swededn and UAE- for the event.