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Leather exports expected to touch $2,000-m mark

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"We are bullish about export growth this year since our second largest market, the US (comprising 14.84 per cent of exports in the last fiscal) is recovering. We are also exploring new markets in Africa,'' Mr S. Audiseshiah, CLE Executive Director, said.

KOLKATA, Aug. 12

EXPORTERS of leather goods are hopeful of a 3.52 per cent growth in the current fiscal followed by a recovery in its second largest market, the US, coupled with the exploration of new markets in Africa.

A release issued by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), the apex body of leather exporters, said exports were likely to touch $2,000 million in 2002-03.

"We are bullish about export growth this year since our second largest market, the US (comprising 14.84 per cent of exports in the last fiscal) is recovering. We are also exploring new markets in Africa,'' Mr S. Audiseshiah, CLE Executive Director, said.

CLE, which is sponsored by the Union Commerce Ministry, has taken various market promotion initiatives. These included maintaining its focus on prime markets while stepping up its activities in the secondary ones.

The council has also organised several business meetings in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

India's leather exports are mainly to Germany, the US, Italy, the UK and France.

Mr Irshad Mirza, CLE Chairman, said the council had been active in strengthening the infrastructure in the leather production centres while promoting component parks and preparing the tanning and the product sectors for major modernisation programmes.

Referring to exports from the eastern region, Mr S.S. Kumar, Regional Chairman, said West Bengal accounting for 58 per cent of the total exports in 2001-02 would be part of the rising trend.

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