LAHORE: A high-level delegation comprising experts in the leather sector and state representatives recently visited India on a study tour to assess the export promotion measures taken by the government there.
The delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan Tanners Association, Pakistan Leather Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers Association and Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association.
According to a press release, the European Union-funded Pakistan Leather Competitiveness Improvement Programme arranged the study tour for peer learning.
India has performed remarkably in the global leather market in the past decade with exports of leather and related products rising from $3 billion in 2009 to $6 billion in 2014, primarily due to institutional arrangements to promote the sector and the establishment of the Council for Leather Export.
The government of Pakistan, under the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15, had proposed that the Pakistan Leather Export Promotion Council should be set up to look after the interests of leather exporters. However, this objective has yet to be realised.
Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan also announced the creation of the export promotion council at the inauguration of the second Pakistan Mega Leather Show on January 28 this year in Lahore.
In this backdrop, the study tour of India was organised to understand the structure, financing, framework conditions and formation of the Council for Leather Export and to develop a reform agenda for Pakistan’s leather sector.
The delegates visited the International Leather Fair in Chennai, went to model leather factories, participated in the 19th International Footwear Congress and held a meeting with trade minister in the High Commission of Pakistan.
However, the prime purpose was to hold comprehensive discussions with officials of the Council for Leather Export to gather information and help facilitate the setting up of the export promotion council in Pakistan.
In the meeting, the management of the Council for Leather Export spoke about structure of the council, its different regions, election process, overall funding, its history and relationship with the Indian government and other stakeholders.
The delegates also met Irfan Tarrar, Minister (Trade) High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi and expressed their willingness to apply the findings in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2016.