In two separate initiatives, groups from Brazil’s footwear sector are promoting closer relationships between that country and the European Union. The first is an international conference that is being sponsored by BLC Leather Technology Center of the U.K., and the Brazilian associations of Leather, Footwear and Leathergoods Components (Assintecal) and Leather Technicians and Chemists.

The first half of the conference was held April 27-30 and focused on safety and sustainability. The second half, slated for May 4-7, looks at leather technology and finishing. The European Commission and the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development also supported the conference, whose goal is to promote the exchange of information between Brazil and Europe. Many members of Assintecal have sought information from the EU, and specialists from BLC will visit the premises of companies that request them.

The other event was a visit to Europe by a group organized by the Brazilian Association of Leather, Footwear and Leathergoods Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers (Abrameq), who went to learn about safety standards there that could also apply to products made in Brazil. Visitors were to study and compare Brazilian and European rules, legislation and practices, and are expected to revamp Brazil’s own rules.

The Abrameq group visited Portugal, Spain and Germany. The trip was part of the Support Project for International Insertion of Brazilian Small and Medium-Sized Companies, was funded by the EU, and was implemented by the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development.