The project, supported by the Industrial Promotion Department, also plans to improve product designs and increase the value of leather goods, said department Director-General Sophon Ponprasit.

Certain types of shoes, including casual, moccasins, slippers and sports shoes, will be available under the brand, which will be marketed locally and exported to nearby countries. The department estimates the cluster could earn an extra 60 million baht (US$1.9 million) from branded products, which will be extended to other leather goods items.

“Building up local brands is one strategy to improve the capability of the Thai leather industry ahead of the integration of the Asean Economic Community by the end of 2015,” Sophon said.

Despite strong regional competition and the global economic downturn, Sophon said Thailand’s leather industry remains healthy and showed improvement in the second quarter of 2013.

Exports of leather goods rose 11% from the previous quarter to reach 14 billion baht (US$450 million). Hong Kong, mainland China and Vietnam are major buyers of Thai leather products.

Performance in the second half is expected to be strong thanks to more foreign orders of tannery leathers to make goods for the festive season.

The government encouraged producers to form a leather cluster in 2005, and it now has 27 manufacturers working in tanning, production and design. The cluster has generated 800 million baht (US$26 million) in income for its members.

Source: Bangkok Post