It has started work on an industrial zone designated for leather and footwear production and will be setting up a footwear training school with the assistance of Indian Footwear Development Design Institute at a cost of 120 million rupees.
"We started preliminary work on a new leather and footwear industrial zone at Wanathavilluwa to focus on leather tanning manufacturing as well as footwear," Bathiudeen said at the opening of the Leather and Footwear Fair 2012.
The fair has seen strong participation by the Indian leather and footwear manufacturers’ collective called the Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers Association (IFCOMA).
It brought down 25 Indian footwear and leather manufacturing firms for the fair which will end on Sunday, February 12. Also taking part are exhibitors from Italy and China, a ministry statement said.
Bathiudeen said India has agreed to help in skills building and training for the local footwear and leather industry which employs 30,000 people.Janaka Ratnayaka, chairman of the Export Development Board, Sri Lankan footwear manufacturers supply international brands like Nike and Dexter.
"The main markets for our footwear are Italy, Germany, UK and France while the main markets for our leather products are USA and Germany.”
Pradeep Aggarwal, General Secretary of IFCOMA, said they aim to create direct country to country industry linkages, specially component manufacturers in India and footwear and leather manufacturers in Sri Lanka.