Economy, Business And Markets

Shoe Sector Potential Unrealized

Shoe Sector Potential Unrealized  Shoe Sector Potential Unrealized

Iran is one of the oldest producers of footwear. Its leather shoes enjoy a fine reputation not only at home, but also abroad.

However, for almost a decade, the sector has spiraled downward.

Ali Lashgari, a member of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and chairman of the Association of Managers and Experts of Iranian Shoe Sector, believes that the root cause of the slump is excessive legal and illegal imports of shoes, sports shoes in particular, mainly from China and Turkey, the Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz reported.

According to the official, producers are discouraged by high interest rates on banking loans and heavy taxation. He added that the industry is lagging behind in shoe technology.

“Anti-Iran sanctions did a number on the industry. Manufacturing units have lost their competitiveness due to their 40-year-old equipment,” Lashgari said, adding that several memoranda of understanding have been recently signed by East Azarbaijan Leather Exporters Union and several European countries on technology transfer, which would hopefully revive Iran’s footwear industry.

“The biggest advantage of Iran’s shoe industry is the country’s consumer market. Shoes are important to Iranians. In fact, Iran is the second largest consumer of shoes in the Middle East,” he said.

“The availability of different kinds of leather, synthetic or natural, and other raw materials such as rubber, polyurethane, or polyvinyl chloride compounds would give an edge to those who intend to invest in this industry.”

Lashgari said it is possible to set up a shoemaking workshop on a small budget.

“It is possible to set up a decent shoemaking workshop by investing around 1 billion rials ($28,571),” he said, adding that the permits can be obtained from the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade.