“The present financial year has been a good one. According to latest data, the export of leather and leather products during April–August period has reached $2,371 million, against $2,103 million during the same period last year, registering a growth of 12.7% in dollar terms,” according to Rajendra K Jalan, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports (CLE).

“Revival of European markets, projected export growth of 18-20% in the US market and greater penetration in markets such as Russia, Japan, South Africa, UAE and even China have given us hopes of registering an export growth of 20% in FY14 and thereby achieving the export target of $6 billion,” he added.

After achieving a significant export growth of 23% at $4,869 million in 2011-12, Indian leather industry was hopeful of reaching $6 billion exports in 2012-13. However, the persistent crisis in the major markets of European Union led to a fall in exports for the first 10 months of 2012-13. Nevertheless, exports recovered in the last two months of FY2012-13 and ended the finacial year 2012-13 with total exports of $4.99 billion, recording a marginal growth of 2.53%.

The European Union, a major export destination for the Indian leather industry with a share of 70% in total exports, is passing through recession and hence the industry has been looking for the new avenues to enhance exports.

“The US market is on the up-swing. Our export of leather and leather products to USA during the first quarter has shown a significant growth of 14.5%, compared with a year-ago. As the USA is the largest importer of leather and leather products in the world and our share in this important market is less than 1.4%, it is necessary to undertake aggressive marketing efforts in this country to promote India’s brand image and enhance our market share in the long run,” said R Ramesh Kumar, Executive Director, CLE.

However, the CLE have pointed out that the Indian leather industry needs to achieve considerable progress in key areas like capacity modernisation, product and market diversification, infrastructure development, enhancing raw material availability and human resources development to achieve growth of the leather industry, both in the export and domestic markets.