The Brazilian government and private enterprise reaffirmed their partnership for the promotion of footwear and leather accessory exports. On January 11, the Minister of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, signed a contract renewing the Export Incentive Program for the Footwear Sector.
The goal of the program is to expand footwear exports by 11% this year alone. The program is known as Brazilian Footwear and has been in existence for two years.
The Brazilian Export Promotion Agency (Apex) will be in charge of coordinating the program. The government and private enterprise plan to invest US$ 9.3 million (25.5 million reais) just in 2005.
The Brazilian Association of Footwear Industries (Abicalçados), the government’s partner in the project, will help obtain the private investment portion.
The program intends to generate at least 1,100 jobs in coming years, as well as increasing the number of export firms in the sector from 550 to 1,100.
The footwear sector ended 2004 with its best results since 1993, with the production of over 700 million pairs, of which nearly 200 million were exported.
Export receipts were up 15%, closing the year at US$ 1.8 billion. The Brazil Footwear’s goal is US$ 2 billion in exports in 2005.
The program sponsors international promotional activities, such as “prospecting” missions in promising countries or regions; the Buyer Project and the Image Project, which bring importers and opinion-makers to Brazil to become acquainted with firms’ potentials.
It also promotes participation in international fairs, with promotional activities such as fashion shows and intensive publicity campaigns in the trade media.
The contract was signed prior to the inauguration of the 32nd Leather Fashion (“Couromoda”) International Footwear, Sporting Goods, and Leather Goods Fair, the largest one of its kind in Latin America. This year’s fair will have 1,100 exhibitors, a growth of 20%.
Translation: David Silberstein