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Following the positive export growth in the sector, the Government has announced it plans to set up Sri Lanka's first footwear and leather industry city in its Eastern Province.
Speaking at the 9th Footwear & Leather Fair held February 1-5, 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said the country’s footwear and leather exports increased 28% in 2016 compared with the prior year, and the Government now plans to set up Sri Lanka's first footwear and leather industry city in the Eastern Province through a public-private partnership.
“I believe that footwear has great promise for branding of Sri Lanka in international markets through a low cost export product," said Bathiudeen, encouraging exporters to pay closer attention to the sector and explore the supply to established brands. He estimates the global footwear market will reach US$370 billion by 2020, and the international leather goods industry to reach US$247 billion around the same year.
According to the Minister, the Government has approved a project for the construction of a leather and leather goods manufacturing complex in the Batticaloa District as well as the establishment of a Footwear and Leather Goods Training School at Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel at Ratmalana.
The Government is also reported to have increased taxes on footwear imports, and introduced duty exemption facilities for import of finished leather for the manufacturing of footwear and leather goods.