Vietnam's leather and footwear sector registered a 18.4 percent increase and earned $8.8 billion in export revenues in the first nine months of the year, according to Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and Investment. In that period the sector produced 241.9 million pairs of shoes, which represent an increase of 24.1 percent on an annualized basis. According to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), many export contracts were made possible by the signing of a number of free trade agreements. The sector targets to produce 280.2 million pairs of shoes and earn $14-15 billion from exports in 2015, and to rise to 314 million pairs and $16-17 billion in 2016. In 2014, Vietnam exported footwear worth $4.88 billion to Europe, or 20 percent more than in 2013. The biggest destinations were France, Germany, the U.K. and Spain. In the first half of 2015, exports to the EU grew by a further 17 percent.