Local footwear manufacturers are calling for an import duty increase through the next budget, to safeguard the domestic industry.
“The duty for imported footwear was reduced from the Budget 2011. This will definitely have an adverse impact on the local shoe industry especially for companies producing high quality, up market footwear. There is a high expectation amongst the manufacturers that the government will intervene to protect local manufacturers and prevent import dumping.” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ceylon Leather Products PLC, Sitendra Senaratne said.
Protectionist measures from the government will be crucial to the development of the local industry which, according to Chairman, Ceylon Leather Products PLC, Lalith Heengama, stands to benefit from an increase in disposable income amongst urban and semi urban consumers.
“There is a demand for up-market, high-value footwear by urban and semi urban consumers, and the company has made arrangements to cater to this segment whilst competing with imported footwear,” Heengama said.
CLP will also be looking for new export markets through its recently acquired subsidiary, Palla & Co. (Pvt) Ltd, a ladies shoe manufacturer located in the Katunayake Export Promotion Zone.
Senaratne stated that economic turmoil in traditional export markets in North America and Europe had necessitated a search for new markets, adding that the company was looking at developing new markets within the Asian region.