With a view of safeguarding the domestic footwear industry from the cheap imports, leather manufacturers have requested the government to impose anti-dumping duty on Chinese footwear and also desires the government to hike import duties on chemicals like chrome sulphate and sodium sulphide which are used for treating leather and imported from China.
These chemicals attract an import duty of 8.2%, which the industry wants to be raised to 35%.
“Even though the import duty on footwear was increased to 35% in 2019, the flow of Chinese footwear has not come down a bit,” Ramesh Juneja, regional chairman at Council of Leather Exports, told ET. “The only way this can be controlled is to impose an anti-dumping duty. We have already written to the government on this.”
The leather industry has become more vocal amid the rising clamour to boycott Chinese goods following the recent face-off between Indian and Chinese armies on the Line of Actual Control.
China manufactures 13.1 billion pairs of shoes annually. Its own consumption is 4.1 billion pairs. It thus has a huge volume of footwear to export. On the contrary, India produces 2.57 billion pairs of shoes. India’s per capita consumption has increased to 2 pairs per year in 2019 from 1.7 pairs in 2016. This has encouraged China to export more to India.
Muhammad Babar, the owner of Agra-based Relex Footwear, said the domestic market is flooded with Chinese footwear. “We are losing our customers because we cannot manufacture shoes at such a low cost,” he said.
Juneja said factories that used to manufacture the chemicals for treating leather have closed down in the country due to cheap imports from China.