The Turkish Association of Footwear Industrialists (TASD), which organizes the footwear fair in Istanbul, has formally joined the Confederation of the European Footwear Industry (CEC), even before the European Union’s much-debated assent to start negotiations for country’s accession and ahead of the next World Footwear Congress, scheduled to take place in Brussels next Apr. 14-15. The move will help to make the case for the preservation of a large footwear manufacturing industry in the broader European region. SATRA estimates that Turkey had a relatively stable production of 215 million pairs of shoes in 2002, making it the second-largest source in Europe after Italy. It exported 62 million pairs and imported 13 million pairs, indicating an apparent consumption of 166 million pairs. According to another estimate, the country produced 350 million pairs in 2003, exporting 70 million pairs worth $173 million.