Aqeel Ahmed, participating in the panel discussions stated that under the able leadership of the Hon’ble prime Minister of India, the whole Country is transforming. The Govt. Of India had taken a very strong measure few months earlier i.e. Demonetization of high value notes in order to eradicate black money from the economy for ensuring its stable and speedy growth.
FDRA organized a full day ‘Footwear sourcing Intelligence summit’ on 25th July 2017 in the new York stock exchange, Wall street. The summit discussed a number of issues i.e. Global footwear sourcing, supply chain and factory compliance issues and trends. The event featured special keynotes from industry executives as well as panels covering specific countries featuring industry directors and experts.
Vice Chairman CLE Aqeel Ahmed, shared interesting views on a panel discussion “Growth outside China & Vietnam: a discussion on sourcing, Compliance & supply Chains in Mexico, India, Cambodia & Bangladesh” moderated by Matt priest, president & CEO OF FDRA. The other panelists at the session were General Alvaro Baltodano, Minister, presidential delegate for Investment, Nicaragua, Santiago de Mucha Mendiola, Vice president of International trade, Mexican Footwear Chamber and Jeff Mc Cauley, Vice president of Global accounts, Integration point.
The prominent summit participants were; Keen, Nike, Caleres, Target, Wolverine Worldwide, Aldo, Redwing, Topline/Steve Madden, Fortune Footwear, Anne Klein, Sg Footwear, Timberland, Sears, and many more! Cle was a sponsor of the summit among sponsors viz. Tuv Sud, BSI, Apex Logistics, Sapica, Farrow, Wolverine Worldwide.
Aqeel Ahmed said, “Govt. Of India is giving utmost importance to the leather sector and implementation of a ‘special package’ for the overall development of the industry is in the pipeline. The measures like creation of Mega Leather Clusters with a sizable Govt. Funding support will definitely go on to change the face of our Industry in the coming years.” He added, “Introduction of the new tax regime, ‘Goods & service tax” was yet another measure implemented by the Govt. Of India, for ensuring the overall progress of the Country.”
Aqeel Ahmed stated that a ‘new’ and ‘energetic’ India is in the making under the reins of the current Go and related products, Vice-Chairman, CLE informed that only 10% of the India’s footwear production is exported and the remaining 90% is consumed in the domestic market itself. The non Leather Footwear Industry in India is also steadily growing. He shared his views on ‘Make in India’ programme and said, “Leather is among the product sectors identified under this programme for promoting investment and manufacturing in the sector.” He touched upon digital India, availability of skilled manpower etc., in the speech. The Leather Industry in India has changed drastically over the years. From the family run business, the Industry has now started operating like big corporate
And multinational companies. Other panelists shared the status of the Footwear Industry in their respective Countries, measures adopted by their Governments for development of the sector.
Replying to a question raised by Matt priest regarding the current export scenario and latest developments taken place in the Industry, Aqeel Ahmed, stated that nearly 56% of the India’s export of leather and leather products, including footwear are going to European Countries. However, India’s export to USA has substantially increased over the years. As focused by the Government of India, CLE is undertaking export promotion initiatives to explore the new and potential markets. In this direction, he advised on the export promotion activities planned by the CLE in the Latin America and also in the African Countries. He apprised about the accreditation of the Footwear design & development Institute (FDDI) as an institution of ‘national Importance’ and Both the Houses of parliament of India in this regard had recently cleared a Bill. The training and testing Institutes like FDDI, CLRI, CFTI, NIFT etc. Has played a very important role in improving the design capabilities of the industry and also for providing skill manpower. He appraised the house about the Leather sector skill Council (lSSC) and its role in imparting training to the young workforce in India. While talking about the importance of ‘social Compliance’, the Vice-Chairman, CLE informed the gathering that Indian Leather and Footwear Industry is well acquainted with the environmental norms and following strictly the norms for social Compliance as per international standards.
While talking on the occasion, Puran Dawar, Regional Chairman-North, CLE said that in the last FDRA Summit also he had raised a question that what is prompting the American Companies not to source from India; the answer was; ‘absence of Skill’ Dawar clarified that Skill is not an issue in our Industry now and the sector has changed to the level akin to the corporate industry.
Founded in 1944, FDRA represents the entire footwear industry from small family owned footwear businesses to global footwear companies. It also serves the full supply chain of the footwear industry from research, design and development, to manufacturing and distribution, to retailers selling to global consumers. In all, FDRA supports over 130 companies and 250 brands, or 80% of total U.S. footwear sales, making it the largest and most respected American footwear trade association. In the 70-plus year history of the association, FDRA has supported the footwear industry as its business intelligence hub and voice in Washington, DC and around the globe.