LAHORE  - The first Pakistan Leather Show, besides portraying a positive image of the country, will be a good start to encourage the international buyers to come to Pakistan and benefit from the tremendous potential existing in the leather sector of the country.

This was stated by the exhibitors of the three-day Leather Show held from March 6-8 at the Lahore International Expo Centre for the revival of the leather industry of Pakistan. Key federal government officials, foreign associations and diplomats also attended the event which is a unique and first ever biggest expo of its kind in Pakistan. The local manufacturers, who displayed their leather goods in a large number of stalls, observed that show provided a unique platform to the Pakistani leather industry, including tanners, footwear manufacturers, leather garments and gloves manufacturers, chemical companies, and other vendors supplying equipment, machinery and components to the leather industry, by showcasing their products and providing a single platform for the local leather industry. The organizer of the first leather show also announced the second leather show in January next year which will be attended by 50 per cent more foreign companies.

The Leathertex Chairman Azam Malik, Pakistan Tanners Association’s former chairman of a Standing Committee and ex-member of the Executive Committee, who also participated in the exhibition, observed that the show was held for the promotion of the leather industry of Pakistan as well as to accentuate the image of Pakistan worldwide. A large number of country’s manufacturers of leather, leather products and footwear showcased their finniest quality products to attract buyers and visitors.

Talking to The Nation, Malik, the major exporter, said that the leather sector is an important sector in Pakistan, due to the size of its economic footprint, employment, and potential for value creation. Despite being an export earner of $1.36 billion the leather sector has small share in global trade of value added goods and products. In wake of the current relaxation given by the EU, which includes the GSP+ status for Pakistan, the value added leather sector needs to seize the opportunity and further develop the sector to become an even greater export earner for Pakistan, Azam Malik added.

He said that more than 200 local companies and 50 foreign companies had set up 300 stalls at the show. He said most foreign companies belonged to European countries like France, Germany and Italy, while others were from Indian, China, Korea and Taiwan. We have also announced second leather show in January 2016 and more foreign companies are expected to attend that show, he added.  PTA Chairman Muhammad Musaddiq said that a Group Dialogue between Pakistan and India was also held on 7th March on “South Asia – India-Bangladesh-Pakistan : next HUB for Leather Footwear”.  Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council of Leather Exports, India led the group dialogue. Participants from Pakistan included Muhammad Younas, Chairman Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association, Agha Saiddain, Ex-Chairman, PTA and Omar Saeed.

He said that the Group-Dialogue was the first of its kind in Pakistan for leather sector to provide a great platform for close understanding and collaboration between the two countries for the promotion of exports and cater to the need each of them.

 Participants of a group dialogue urged the governments of both countries to give maximum freedom to manufacturers and exporters to showcase leather and leather products across the border, he added.