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Italian firms keen on Vietnam’s leather footwear industry
Friday,  Jul 13, 2018,16:34 (GMT+7)

Italian firms keen on Vietnam’s leather footwear industry

HCMC - Many Italian manufacturers of machinery, equipment and materials for production of leather shoes and goods, and for tanning are joining the 20th International Shoes and Leather Exhibition Vietnam (Shoes & Leather Vietnam 2018) in HCMC to introduce their innovative products.

Visitors to the exhibition at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) from July 11 to 13 are impressed by Italy’s national pavilion, which occupies a large space at the center of the exhibition hall. A notable booth of the pavilion is that of Comelz, a supplier of machinery for leather shoes making.

Fabrizio Bellagamba, Far East Area Manager of Comelz Italy, said the leather shoes and goods making industry in Vietnam is growing fast and still has room for more growth. This is why Comelz has brought its products to the exhibition to look for more customers.

This is the eighth year in a row Comelz has participated in the exhibition in Vietnam although the firm already has showrooms and service centers in HCMC and the northern city of Haiphong.

According to Fabrizio Bellagamba, the firm has recorded positive business results in Vietnam, but its customers are mainly leather shoes makers of Taiwan and South Korea. Comelz supplied around 100 machinery units in the Vietnamese market last year, up 40% against the previous year, and plans to supply some 140 units this year.

Comelz is not the only Italian firm to do good business in Vietnam. A report of the Italian Trade Agency showed that Vietnam is a market with strong growth in imports of leather shoes making machinery and materials from Italy.

Exports of Italy’s leather shoes, goods and tanning sector amounted to roughly 440 million euros last year, a 10% increase against 2016. The export value of such products to Vietnam last year doubled that of 2016, at over 30 million euros, according to Paolo Lemma, Italian Trade Commissioner to Vietnam.

With such impressive growth, Italian firms are searching for new opportunities to expand in the Vietnamese market.

Besides Comelz, there are 25 other firms of Italy such as Aeffe Machinery, Atom, Barnini-Mostardini, Bauce Tri.Ma, Camoga, Davos, Erretre, Escomar Italia, Ger Elettronica, Gozzini 1906 Turini Group, Gusbi Officina Meccanica, Intercom, Italprogetti, Lamebo, Mosconi, Officine Di Cartigliano, Officine Meccaniche Alpe, Pajusco Tecnologie, Revomec, Spraytech, Tecon, Wintech, Centralkimica, Dermacolor and Eurochem.

The national pavilion for Italian exhibitors is organized by the Italian Trade Agency, and the National Association of Manufacturers of Footwear, Leather Goods and Tanning Technologies (ASSOMAC), and supported by the Consulate General of Italy in HCMC.

These 26 Italian firms specialize in designing, manufacturing and supplying footwear, leather goods and tanning machinery, equipment and technologies such as measuring, pressing, cutting, pulling over lasting and finishing machines, integrated lines, and chemicals used for leather and footwear production. They are showcasing at the exhibition their breakthrough products using latest technologies.

Paolo Lemma said that most of the Italian exhibitors have distributors, agents and representative offices in Vietnam. They are on the lookout for more opportunities in the growing Vietnamese market while consolidating cooperative relationships with their current local partners.

According to ASSOMAC President Gabriella Marchioni Bocca, who leads the Italian business mission at the exhibition, the presence of Italian firms with their exclusive capabilities over the past years have supported the development of Vietnam’s leather and footwear industry. 

Strengths of Italian firms lie in not only product quality but also their abilities to tailor to customers’ needs. These have made Italian firms competitive on the markets, the ASSOMAC president said. She added that Italian firms always give special attention to detailed demands of customers.

The Italy-Vietnam Footwear Technology Center, which was opened in the southern province of Binh Duong last year, is the result of cooperation between the Italian Trade Agency, the ASSOMAC and the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO).

Vietnam has become the third biggest shoes making country and the second biggest shoes exporter after China. Such an achievement is attributed to huge local and foreign investments in the industry and efforts of local firms.

For foreign suppliers of shoes making machinery, Vietnam is a potential market for them to introduce technologies and products. Vietnam is becoming a destination for footwear outsourcing firms, and manufacturers that shift sourcing from China.

Such a shift results from footwear manufacturers that want to benefit from the free trade agreements which Vietnam has signed and that seek to reduce their exposure to risks of rising production and environmental costs. All this has made Vietnam a global footwear workshop. Another concern of footwear firms is the U.S.-China trade war.

Data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that Vietnam’s 2017 footwear exports picked up 12.7% to US$14.65 billion. In the first half of this year, the figure was put at US$7.79 billion.

Italian footwear machinery suppliers export over three-thirds of their output to 100 countries and territories each year. The aforementioned statistics of Vietnam’s footwear export performance indicate that Vietnam is an attractive market for Italian firms.

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