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Leather sector seeks steps to tap Russian market

Our Bureau

Kolkata, Nov. 5

EVEN as the Moscow-based marketing consultancy outfit International Marketing Centre Network finalises its report for the Indian leather industry, the exporting community feels that the Union Commerce Ministry has to take a more pro-active role, positioning itself as a frontline facilitator to help various sectors enter the Russian market.

The Council for Leather Exports (CLE), the industry's apex body, which appointed the Russian agency to chalk out its market penetration game plan, said a focused strategy was needed in order for any sector to make a strong entry into the Russian market. The CLE felt that the opportunities should not be missed by default.

The Council said a dedicated marketing unit should be positioned in Moscow for at least three years. This unit will coordinate with various product councils/boards to run marketing programmes in Russia. It should be directly under the Union Commerce Ministry, sources said. One of the main briefs for this unit should be to engage itself in image-building exercises to establish India as a reliable source of supply.

Russia's import of leather and leather products is estimated at $327 million. However, the unofficial figure including illegal imports is about $1,000 million. India now has a mere 4.93 per cent share of the market, which is dominated by China and Italy. Germany and Poland are also players in the Russian leather imports market.

The CLE felt the Commerce Ministry could run a warehouse for the benefit of Indian exporters and also liaise with Russian Government agencies on behalf of product councils and core individual exporters.

Stating that every export promotion council should select capable willing exporting companies, the CLE said it would like to have a panel of, say, 14 companies for this purpose.

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