CAIRO: Imports of leather products reached 1.23 billion EGP in 2013, including 774 billion EGP for shoes, Leather Industry Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) announced Wednesday.
This value is based on data released from the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) but less by 30 to 40 percent from real imports since many importers submit false documents to evade paying customs, director of FEI’s Chamber of Leather Industry Mohamed Nabil told Youm7.
“This represents a great threat to the leather industry in Egypt, leading many factories to fold their operations,” Nabil said. He urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade to increase customs on imported leather products to 60 percent.
Nabil also called to tighten inspection and control to confront smuggling and to reduce the flow of Chinese products, which he described as “non-conforming to specifications.”
More than 24,000 leather facilities with 485,000 workers have been operating in Egypt but around 5,000 plants folded and 150,000 workers were laid off due to the local unrest and instability followed the January 25 Revolution, Head of Leather Industry Chamber Gamal Samalouti said in an interview on CBC Extra Tuesday.
Smalouti demanded the competent bodies to impose harsh penalties on leather smugglers to protect the local industry, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Egypt’s leather exports are valued at 1.3 billion annually, while importing 114 million pairs of shoes annually, he added.
Additional reporting by Selim Ali.