India’s export of leather and leather products declined about 28.3% to $3.3 billion in 2020-21 from $4.6 billion in 2019-2020 owing to the COVID-19 impact on key markets of the European Union, the U.K. and the U.S., according to the Council for Leather Exports.
“Most of the sales in the overseas markets are happening through e-commerce mode and hence there is a vast change in the customer requirements as malls and shops are closed in our overseas markets and hence customers do not want to pile up inventories,” Shai Aqeel Ahmed Panaruna, chairman, Council for Leather Exports, said.
On account of the changed market scenario, customers were now demanding quicker delivery of products as well. However, there was a shortage of containers which was affecting the shipments, he pointed out.
Mr. Panaruna said major markets were opening up, but the industry was concerned about the impact of surging COVID-19 cases in India on exports.
The government had announced submission of application for incentives under the Merchandise Exports for India Scheme (MEIS) for 2019-2020 till September 30, 2021, as the industry was facing working capital problems, he said.
Online facility sought
The Council for Leather Exports had sought a facility for online applications under MEIS for the period April-December 2020.
It had asked for early notification of rates under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RODTEP), which came into effect from January 1, replacing the MEIS and also extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS 2.0) to the leather and leather products industry. “These two support measures are crucial for our export revival and for the sustainability of our exports. We are also expecting a favourable Foreign Trade Policy for complete revival of exports as the existing policy has been extended further till September 2021,” Mr. Panaruna said.
He said India was the world’s second largest producer of footwear (both leather and non-leather). There was a positive demand for local supplies and hence more and more brands were now looking to manufacture in India for domestic sales, instead of importing footwear from other countries, he added.