Annarita Pilotti, president of Assocalzaturifici, got a relatively muted reception to her presentation of its eighth annual Shoe Report to members of the Italian Parliament earlier this month, where she provided new numbers to support her request for fiscal incentives and other measures intended to stop the decline in the country's shoe production.

The Italian shoe industry association continues to ask for fiscal exemption of R&D investment costs, the lifting of trade sanctions on Russia and mandatory labels of origin on shoes imported from outside the European Union.

The Italian shoe industry lost more than 150 companies and more than 8,500 jobs in the last two years, Pilotti pointed out, due in part to the international trade sanctions on Russia. After her presentation, however, Tommaso Cancellara, secretary general of the association, expressed hope that the sanctions will be eliminated, following the election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S.

Pilotti also indicated that the planned pull-out of the U.K. from the European Union may favor the adoption of labels of origin in Europe by a majority of the remaining votes in the European Council of Ministers.

Italian shoemakers are also asking for the banks to better understand the demands of the footwear industry for credit. According to Assocalzaturifici's latest Shoe Report, 70 percent of the shoe companies surveyed by the association have indicated that they are satisfied with their relations with the banks, but they are asking for more evolved and comprehensive evaluation criteria that take into account more parameters than just sales growth and the level of capitalization.

Assocalzaturifici is proposing more sophisticated financing solutions in which the banks would accompany private investments in shoe companies that wish to open up their equity. The survey shows that only 3 percent of the companies has considered such as an option, but about half of the respondents indicated that they might consider it in the future.

Italy's shoe production fell by 15 percent between 2008 and 2015, largely because of a major drop in exports to Russia, although the rate of decline softened in the first half of this year.

On the other hand, the industry's turnover increased by 2.4 percent over the same period as the average price ex factory of a shoe made in Italy went up from by 33.7 percent to €41.7, thanks to higher levels of quality for the type of medium-high and high-end products that are demanded by the market.

Similarly, Italy's shoe exports fell by 6.4 percent in volume from 2008 to 2015, but they picked up by 25.5 percent in value. In terms of value, Italy's shoe exports rose by 3.8 percent in the first half of 2016, as we have already reported.