Council for Leather Exports (CLE) the apex body of leather footwear and products exporters has urged the government to immediately withdraw the 10 per cent customs duty on import of wet blue chrome tanned leather, crust leather, finished leather of all kinds, including splits and sides as it is adversely hurting the leather goods export industry as well as the domestic market  in the country .

“The hike would also make it difficult for the manufacturers of footwear and other leather products to remain competitive in exports due to higher input costs. The 10 per cent Customs duty hike on the leather is in line with the government’s intention to promote local sourcing but has led to an increase in costs . increased leather prices would make things difficult for leather footwear exports and domestic prices” said Mr Sanjay Leekha, newly elected president of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) .

“Leather industry expects the Govt to consider withdrawing import duty on import of wet blue leathers as this will jeopardize the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat to produce world class leathers. Wet blue raw materials bring value addition of 100 percent. Imposing duty on finished leather import still has some logic but imposing duty on wet blue, which is a raw material for value addition, is going to effect entire leather industry very badly.” Said Mr Leekha.

“Leather industry also wants the government to continue the Duty  free Import Scheme (DFIS) to produce world class leather products. Government should also should review various schemes of export performance including pending MEIS, RODTEP, ECGLS, Refund of DRAWBACK and GST .The Govt should include Leather Sector, which is a champion sector, in the PRODUCTION LINKED INCENTIVE SCHEME.” Said Mr Motilal Sethi, Chairman, Northern region of CLE.

“Presently, India is the second largest exporter of leather garments, second largest producer of Footwear, third largest exporter of Saddlery & Harness and 4th largest exporter of Leather Goods in the world. The export of footwear, leather and leather products from India was to the tune of US $ 3.68 billion (Rs.27,209 crores) during 2020-21, while in 2019-20 the sector recorded exports of US$ 5.07 BILLION (Rs.35,350 crores). In 2019-20, the northern region generated exports to the tune of US$ 1.10 billion (Rs. 8,200 crores)” said Mr Sethi.

“CLE also urges the  government to create three clusters and common facilities in the NCR. Cluster development strategy is the best tool for improving productivity and competitiveness of enterprises. The industry is gearing up to post covid situation as the global economies are going to bounce back, and India has a chance to equally bounce back and use this opportunity of pro India sentiments.” Said Mr Sethi