09:09 | 25/07/2016 Economy
Indian leather and footwear businesses have only recently discovered Viet Nam is a huge market while their Vietnamese counterparts import massive quantities of leather but little from India.
A female worker produces sport shoes for domestic and foreign markets at Vinh Yen Shoes Company in Vinh Phuc Province's Vinh Yen City. Viet Nam imported US$5 billion of leather and accessories in 2015
Last year Viet Nam imported US$5 billion worth of leather and accessories, only 5 per cent of it from India, the second largest global producer of leather and footwear..
But things have been changing in recent times, with Indian leather and footwear exports to Viet Nam increasing steadily.
It rose from US$40.66 million in 2009–10 to $117.07 million in 2014–15. The latest reports show that in April-December last year they had risen to $84.5 million.
Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman of India's Council for Leather Exports, in turn urged Vietnamese footwear companies to grab the opportunity that India, with its huge market, offers.
The Indian footwear market is estimated to be worth US$6.5 billion now and expected to rise to $12 billion by 2020.
India is renowned for its quality raw leather, while its large young population means the availability of skilled labour at competitive wages, Ahmed said.
The leather and footwear industry is among the top 10 foreign exchange earners for India, with an estimated US$6 billion.
A Khan of Kbro Leathertex, who was visiting the country for the first time to take part in the exhibition, said she had thought Viet Nam was a small market but now realises it is huge and plans to open an office next year.
India's ambassador to Viet Nam, Parvathaneni Harish, said bilateral trade was US$7 billion in 2015 and is expected to rise to $15 billion by 2020.
The leather and footwear sector would greatly contribute to achieving the target, he said.
Indian companies see great opportunity in the Vietnamese market, he added./.