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Industries feel the pinch as virus spreads its tentacles

India, the world’s 2nd largest leather goods producer, to see 20% drop in exports; auto and textile sectors too hit

Published: 17th March 2020 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2020 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

Leather exports from the Vellore region has taken a hit | FILE PHOTO

Express News Service

VELLORE: With the novel coronavirus outbreak casting its shadow on businesses across the world, the contagion is likely to affect leather exports from India, the second-largest leather and leather goods producers in the world. While the pandemic has not dealt a heavy blow yet, exporters have begun to feel the heat as certain overseas customers want shipments held back for certain reasons — particularly as they are looking for a slash in prices due to poor market sentiments — and logistic issues such as cancellation of flights.

“As of now, exports of leather products and finished leather are moving without much problem. Yet, a few overseas customers have asked for consignments to be held back,” M Israr Ahmed, regional chairman of Council of Leather Exports (CLE), told Express on Monday. Cancellation of flights to several overseas destinations have had its effect on smooth flow of consignments. “We are not able to ferry consignments to certain countries,” Ahmed says. Since the threat of the outbreak is looming large, the demand for leather products is likely to come down resulting in a drop in exports.

Ahmed says exports could drop by about 20 per cent. The leather industry is one of the top 10 foreign exchange-earners to the country, as per statistics available with CLE. A downward trend in exports will naturally take a hit on production of leather goods. The US is the biggest importer of Indian leather and leather goods, accounting for 15.70 per cent, followed by Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain and UAE. Industry sources say China is also placing orders for leather products. While the exports to the country dipped early this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the markets have improved at present.

Tamil Nadu is the top contributor to leather exports with several clusters of leatherbased industries located at Ambur, Vaniyambadi and Ranipet. Besides, the exports of coir products and incense sticks from the region have also been affected. According to industry sources, consignments worth Rs 5,000 crore are being exported to overseas destinations every year from the region.

NO SALE OF ITEMS OVER MRP, WARNS GOVT Chennai: The government has said that pharmacies and other shops that sell masks, soaps and sanitisers should not sell products over and above the MRP printed on the packaging. The government, through a statement, said it will take action against any manufacturer or shop that sells over the MRP. Public who wish to complain about such malpractice can use the TNLMCTS app or call 044-24321438 or email clmchennaitn@gmail.com.



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