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Leather  Industry   Leather Industry
Leather Industry

The Leather Industry holds a prominent place in the Indian economy for its consistency in high export earnings. It is among the top ten foreign exchange earners for the country. With an annual turnover of over US$ 12.50 billion, the export of leather and leather products increased manifold over the past few decades and touched US$ 5.85 billion during 2015-16.

West Bengal - A traditional hub and the preferred destination
West Bengal, particularly Kolkata and its suburbs has developed tremendously into a highly successful Leather & Leather Goods Export Hub from India within a short span of three decades. The following factors have helped immensely:

  • Easy availability of good quality raw materials in considerable quantity.
  • Strong tannery and leather processing base.
  • Availability of the special soft quality cow Nappa leather that most German Brands prefer. This particular type of leather processing uses "soft" river water available abundantly in the state.
  • Presence of support industries like Leather Chemicals, metal fittings, ancillary product suppliers.
  • Ample availability of skilled labour.
  • Good connectivity through road, sea ports and air ports.
  • Progressive mindset of exporters and interest in new technology and R&D.
  • State of the art factories for compliance with international standards (SA-8000, BSCI, REACH).
  • Presence of reputed educational institutions for training in design, manufacturing processes and technology further strengthens the skilled workforce in the state.
  • Special attention to environmental compliances.
    • Various promotional initiatives by the State Government for overall growth of leather industry in the state. With recent interventions it is expected that the current turnover of 3 billion US$ in this sector will increase to 13 billion US$ by 2020.
    • Duty free import of raw material for manufacturing of finished products meant for export to neighbouring countries as per present Foreign Trade Policy.

West Bengal is the hub of Leather Goods Exports from India, having about 50% share of total exports in this category. Out of the total 2020 tanneries in India, West Bengal has about 538 tanneries, which is 26.6% of the total. The number of Leather Footwear units is about 230 and the number of Leather Goods Units is about 436, holding a total percentage share of 30% of the entire sector.

Footwear : Special Focus
India is the second largest producer of footwear in the world after China. This sector manufactures 2065 million pairs of footwear annually and has a huge domestic retail market of 1950 million pairs i.e. 95% sold in the domestic market. Footwear exports account for 43% share in India's total leather and leather products export.

The leather industry leaders of West Bengal have embarked upon an ambitious project of setting up a Mega Leather Footwear Park at Calcutta Leather Complex with the active support of the Government of West Bengal. The proposed footwear sector is conceived to be an integrated facility with state of the art on-site infrastructure.

With an annual export turnover of approximately 1 billion US$ and domestic sales of 2.5 billion US$, makes the total turnover of leather and leather products from West Bengal at 3 billion US$.

This provides an ample opportunity to companies to invest and set up base in West Bengal for not only supplying to the leather sector in West Bengal, but also to other leather clusters in India and neighbouring countries.

  • Chemical Factories: The consumption of chemicals in finished leather manufacturing is very high and since domestic manufacturing is not adequate, India has to import these chemicals from Germany and other developed countries.
  • The Mega Footwear Park is another important factor for the German investors in this field to look forward to West Bengal as a lucrative destination for business.
    • Since "100% Quality" has become the key word in today's export market, quality requirements are now with zero defect tolerance worldwide. In this scenario, Germany could impart their technical knowhow for:
      • Building world class infrastructure, through joint ventures or otherwise, which would be in line with International Compliance Standards in order to make superior quality products.
      • Fine tuning product manufacturing processes so as to ensure "Lean Manufacturing" with world class quality.
  • Proximity of the region to the other South East Asian countries is an opportunity to export to these ever-growing markets.
  • Investors in West Bengal will enjoy duty free import of raw material for manufacturing of finished products meant for export to neighbouring countries as per present Foreign Trade Policy.
  • These together make West Bengal a lucrative option for Foreign Investment in this sector, be it in Technology, Design, Infrastructure, Chemicals, or Accessories for making Leather Goods.

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