Saturday, March 28, 2009

The India International Leather Fair 2009 and present scenario in the leather market


The India International Leather Fair held in Chennai from 31 January to 3 February, 2009, the much sought after yearly event with programmes like fashion show, buyer-seller meet, seminar etc. was not so result oriented this time even though its inaugural function was grand with all paraphernalia and quite a large number of domestic and overseas participants from 24 countries were in good attendance with their quality products such as finished leather, footwear and footwear components, leather goods, leather garments, machinery for different purposes, chemicals, publications etc. There was not even a single Pakistani stall in the fair this time. The strained relations between India and Pakistan is the cause for it.

Many of the important leather and footwear magnates who attended the inaugural function were conspicuous by their absence the rest of the days. Even usual trade and common visitors were limited. The fact is that the fair was no doubt a very good and attractive annual event, international in every sense, but the outcome in terms of marketing and volume of business was lacklustre despite the fact that some big leather and shoe manufacturers concluded some contracts. It was not something unexpected in the present time of unprecedented worldwide recession when buyers as well as sellers are in a dilemma not knowing the future trends and engaged in all sorts of speculations. The down trend upto 10 to 25 percent was evident in the leather items but the present uncertain situation was the main hurdle in the way of fresh contracts. Practically nobody knows what is the actual market position at present. There are also reports of buyer defaults in payments and cancellations of contracts on some pretext or other.

Foreign participants had no option except to say that "the same conditions cannot prevail for long". They were optimistic in increasing their contacts and contracts with Indian and other leather and shoe manufacturers in the days to come slowly but steadily.

Although some machines were sold at reasonable prices, most leather and shoe manufacturers were not interested in any expansion due to the present situation. Nobody seems to have any long time contracts for big quantities as before i.e. till about three months ago. The apt remarks of Mrs. Sheela Bhide, chairman and managing director, at the inauguration that India was the third largest importer of machinery in the leather sector in the world and that the global slowdown had hit the leather industry in the middle of its modernisation are note-worthy. It is learnt that the Council for Leather Exports is analysing the situation well and is to chalk out a new plan to take remedial measures for boosting exports so vital for the country.

The Chairman of the Council for Leather Exports, Mr. Habeeb Hussain's appeal for reduction of interest rates and increase in drawback and duty free entitlement scheme rates is expected to be considered favourably by the government as assured by Mr. Ashwani Kumar, Hon'ble Minister of state for industries in the fair. There are also appeals from different sources for immediate cuts in personal and corporate taxes to stimulate the economy of our country. Here again the government is expected to do its best in this regard to help industrial growth and exports. The leather and leather products industry established on sound footing in our country will definitely prove its mettle in overcoming the present slowdown by adopting innovative methods in consultation with organisations like the CLRI and with the support of the government. An immediate concerted effort is necessary to save lakhs of people from being rendered jobless. It is well known that the leather and leather products industry has quite a large number of women on its rolls and in some units they outnumber men. One can find this in places like Ambur, Ranipet, Chennai and other places where leather goods, shoe and garment units are in existence. Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Farida Group of Companies, who is presently the President of the FICCI of the Tamil Nadu State Council and Chairman of Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) has also appealed to the government on the above lines.
The organisers of the fair, India Trade Promotion Organisation, deserve thanks and compliments for improving the standard of the fair every year. The photo identity introduced this year was well done as it was needed for security reasons. It is requested to ITPO to provide restaurants and more number of Kiosks at the fair venue to cater to the exhibitors and visitors.
The attitude of both the visual and print media except a few dailies in not covering the programmes of the fair in a big and prominent manner which they deserved is regrettable. It is surprising that the media which blows even a small nasty incident out of proportion is so negative in highlighting the national events of achievements like this. The role of our media should be positive and meant for nation building.

(V.M. Khaleelur Rahman in Indian Leather, March 2009)

1 comment:

  1. salam alay kum

    i am a exporter and newly i have started my export business
    and its been long ago past from 1 year i dint got a single order
    so please i need your advise in this matter how can i promote my business.
    with regards