ISLAMABAD: A high-level delegation of experts has visited India to learn about the measures taken by the Indian government to enhance leather exports.
The delegation comprised high officials from the Ministry of Commerce, representatives from the Pakistan Tanners Association, Pakistan Leather Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association, Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers Association and Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association.
India has shown remarkable performance in global leather market during the last decade with the export of leather and related product rising from $3 billion in 2009 to $6 billion in 2014, which is primarily due to institutional arrangement adopted in India to promote the sector, and the setting up of Council for Leather Export (CLE) has played a pivotal role in this regard.
The Government of Pakistan under the Strategic Trade Framework 2012-2015, proposed that the Pakistan Leather Export Promotion Council (LEPC) will be setup to look after the interests of the Pakistani leather export sector. However this aim has yet to be realized.
The Federal Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has announced for the formation of LEPC in Pakistan at the inaugural ceremony of the second Pakistan Mega Leather Show held on January 28, 2016.
In this background, the study tour to India was arranged to understand the structure, financing, framework conditions and formation of CLE and to develop reform agenda for the Pakistani leather sector.
Pakistani delegates visited the International Leather Fair in Chennai, visited model leather sector factories in India, participated in the 19th UITIC International Footwear Congress at Chennai, and held meeting with Trade Minister, High Commission of Pakistan, India.
However, the prime purpose of the delegation visit was to have detailed meetings with Council of Leather Exports (CLE) to get educated for facilitation in finalizing Leather Export Promotion Council (LEPC) in Pakistan.
The Pakistani delegation had a dedicated meeting with the CLE Management consisting of Chairman Rafeeqe Ahmed, Ex- Vice Chairman N. Shafeeq Ahmed, Executive Director Ramesh Kumar and other functionaries.
CLE appraised the Pakistani delegation about the overall structure of the CLE and its different regions, election process for the regions and the Central Chairman, overall funding available to the CLE and the history of running the council and its relationship with the Indian government, and other stakeholders like FDDI, CSIR-CLRI, etc.
The delegates also met with Irfan Tarrar, Minister (Trade) High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, and apprised him of the objectives of this study tour.
As an outcome of the study tour, the leather sector industry associations will participate in a follow-up workshop in Pakistan to develop a roadmap for setting up the Pakistan Leather Export Promotion Council.