Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal Urges Footwear Industry To Explore FTAs

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal Urges Footwear Industry To Explore FTAs

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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Gopal expressed his hope for India finalising some free trade agreements in the upcoming months while speaking as a chief guest at the India International Footwear Fair (IIFF) in New Delhi on Saturday. 

According to a report by PTI, the minister said these agreements will help promote exports. “We can leverage the free trade agreements with the UAE and Australia and we are hopeful that in the next few months, we will finalise many more free trade agreements to help you grow your business with zero duty on finished leather products and footwear available for you to exploit bigger and better markets,” he said. 

Currently, India is in the final stages of FTA negotiations with the UK, Canada and European Union (EU).  

Goyal also urged the footwear industry to focus on quality and sustainability to explore business opportunities in developed countries, the report said. 

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The Indian footwear and leather industry is a labour-intensive one and provides employment opportunities to about 4.5 million people, out of which 40 per cent are women. It is also a major foreign exchange earner. The minister expressed faith in the industry and said that India has the ability to become largest and best-quality footwear manufacturer globally. 

He also told that Indian footwear size will be launched soon to help establish Indian footwear globally and reduce the dependence on foreign sizing trends. He urged the manufacturers to aim at increasing the country’s exports and enhancing the domestic market with local products by venturing into FTAs for technological collaborations and non-leather footwear joint ventures. 

Goyal asked key stakeholders to grow the industry but not lose focus on quality and sustainability, and keep in mind the issues of waste management and exploring sustainable electricity generation. He also noted that the government is focused on maintaining quality and has issued quality control norms and is willing to set up testing facilities for certifications, the report stated. 

He specifically highlighted the aesthetic of Maharashtra’s Kolhapuri footwear and Rajasthan’s Mojari, noting that it should be an attraction for international customers as well. 

Currently, India is the second-largest exporter of leather garments and fourth-largest exporter of leather goods in the world, the report added. 

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