Activities Round Up

Date : 03 Sep to 04 Sep 2012
Place : Chennai
Organised by : FISME

FISME-CLE facilitate birth of South Asia Leather Association (LIASA).


In a major break-through in regional cooperation, leather and leather goods producers of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to institutionalize their development efforts with formation of South Asia Leather Association (LIASA).

The outcome was the result of a two days regional consultation workshop organized jointly by FISME and Council for Leather Exports (CLE) on “Strengthening Competitiveness of South Asia in Leather and Leather products” under the aegis of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s project (UNCTAD) at Le Royal Meridien, Chennai on 3rd and 4th September, 2012. Leading policy makers and industrialists from India, Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh participated in the meet.   The initiative was part of UNCTAD’s larger regional initiative “Development-Oriented Integration in South Asia” being implemented in association with Asian Development Bank (Delhi) and Commonwealth Secretariat (London).

The two days consultation meet concluded with formation of regional association called LIASA- Leather Industries Association of South Asia. It will be represented by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka. There are also plans to include Nepal and Afghanistan in the association later on. Mr M Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports, India will lead the association. Mr Anil Bhardwaj Secretary General, FISME will act as an advisor to this association and bring in the expertise of the FISME in its formation.

Speaking to the reporters after the event, Mr Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and industry, who inaugurated the meet said, “it is unfortunate that the leather industry is not adequately integrated in its production network as other sectors in the South Asian region.. a framework for regional organisation will foster greater integration not only in leather but also in other sectors.”

The meet was also addressed by Mr M Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council of Leather Exports (CLE), Chennai, Mr Anil Bhardwaj, Secretary General, Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME), Dr Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, UNCTAD, Dr M A Razzaque, Commonwealth Secretariat and Mr Abhijit Das, Director, Centre for WTO studies, Indian Institute of foreign Trade (IIFT).

The delegates discussed about Potential Intra-Regional Trade in leather and the need for Regional Integration. A paper on the issue was presented by Dr. Rashmi Banga, UNCTAD and other panellists were Dr Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka and Mr R K Jalan, Vice Chairman, CLE. Mr Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) shared his knowledge on “General Difficulties faced in intra-trade among SAARC Countries”.  

The representatives from various countries also shared their knowledge on potential and constraints in leather trade: regional and country level assessments. They also discussed about regional integration, its implications and various policy constraints. 

The industry representatives were in favour of having a regional association for the benefit of the leather industry in South Asia. Mr SM Naseem, Chairman, Pakistan Tanners Association and Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director, Apex Adelchi Footwear, Bangladesh were among the important exporters who spoke during the meeting.