According to a report by Global Industry Analysts, the global footwear market should reach a volume of 13.9 billion pairs and a value of $192.4 billion by 2010. By that time, the USA is expected to still be the leader of shoe consumption, and to maintain its lead over Europe on this front in the years to come. The USA is expected to lead for sales of fashion and performance-related items. At the same time, the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is expected to be the fastest growing market, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.8 percent for the period 2001-2010.

In the first half of this year Vietnam’s footwear exports rose by 11 percent to $1.9 billion, but its sales to the European market fell sharply, according to reports citing the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso). In past years the European market represented 80 percent of Vietnam’s footwear sales, while in the first six months of the year Europe accounted for just one-half of exports. The reason for the decline is obviously the anti-dumping duty of 10 percent imposed last October by the European Union against leather footwear from Vietnam. The country continued to grow its exports by focusing on the North American, Japanese and Taiwanese markets, as well as Eastern Europe. Exports to North America were up by 20 percent in the 6-month period, with several foreign and domestic companies based in Vietnam striking contracts to produce for major brands like Nike and Adidas. Exports to the North American continent represented 30 percent of the total in the period, a number that the Vietnamese footwear industry would like to raise to 40 percent this year. The industry will probably cut its exports to Europe down to 45 percent of the total. For all of 2007, Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade sees total footwear exports reaching as much as $4.1 billion. There are more than 750 footwear production facilities in Vietnam, churning out about 720 million pairs of shoes annually.

The number of leather producers accredited by the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA) has reached 178, or about half of all leather producers in China. The CLIA gives companies a special «genuine leather mark» that is meant to ensure that the items produced are made mostly from genuine leather, that the product is of good quality, that the producer offers ample service after selling the products and that the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly. The mark is designed to be difficult to counterfeit and is meant to add value to Chinese brands. The latest accreditations went to five manufacturers in Wenzhou, which is fast becoming China’s leather shoe production capital. The city made about 1.2 billion pairs of shoes last year.

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers for Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) is lofting a series of requests to the nation’s government, several of which seek to benefit Pakistan’s leather industry. To increase exports and combat high costs, the federation is asking for a 50 percent freight subsidy on air shipments for leather exporters, and asks the government to help leather tanners that export with their utility bills. It further requests a 100 percent subsidy for members of the Pakistan Tanners Association for attending international leather trade shows. In addition, the FPCCI suggests that all components used within the leather industry should be exempt from sales tax, which currently stands at 15 percent for the items. Finally, the federation asks that the government completely ban the export of wet blue split leather, which currently carries an export duty of 20 percent.