Anpic and devaluation offer some relief

27 February 2003

The Mexican tanning and footwear industries were pinning their hopes on a successful 28th Anpic show February 21-24. The global recession has seen a fall in orders especially from US buyers and most exhibitors which Leather International spoke to were pessimistic at the beginning of the fair. However, pessimism turned more to optimism during the show as a number of tanners and traders received higher levels of business than expected. 'In general, the sector has been damaged by a fall in orders, especially from the US market', Jose Pedro Cardenas, Anpic show manager, told Leather International. 'Despite this the number of exhibitors attending the fair means that we are almost full and the level of international visitors is increasing.' Alejandro Gutierrez de Velasco Mendoza, the new Anpic president, was also upbeat about the show. 'I am far from disappointed about the show despite both the national and international downturn in trade', he said. 'The show has remained busy and the exhibitors I have spoken to have picked up business.' Anpic is the largest and most international event for the leather sector covering the Americas. The city of Leon and surrounding region of Mexico represents some 700 tanneries. Traditionally, tanners from the area produce bovine shoe upper and sole leather for Central and North American markets. However, the past two years has seen a trend that has seen a number of the larger producers, such as Wyny, switch all or part of their production to the automotive upholstery leather market. A further extension to the Poliforum exhibition centre now means that there is a total floor space of 46,000 sq m and most space was used during the fair. Unofficial figures gave around 20,000 visitors attending the fair, which is down by approximately 2,000 compared with 2002. Most of the visitors (approx. 93%) were from regions of Mexico. The remaining 7% came from Central, Southern and North America with a smaller number attending from Europe and Asia. Most tanners left the show with a number of business leads to follow-up and samples to prepare. A number had a good January with orders up against the same time last year. The global economic dip has meant that hide prices have remained stable for at least a year and hide traders selling into Mexico said that they were actually worse off than last year as the dollar strengthened against the peso. Devaluation in the Mexican currency had helped exports. However, there is still a high level of illegal imports entering the country, especially from Brazil and the Far East. 'The unofficial figures for imports of Mexican footwear suggest that for every one pair of shoes imported legally there are three pairs illegally imported', says Paulo Henrique Caye, director of leather sales and marketing, central America, Bayer. The number of cheaper foreign imports is hitting the Mexican footwear producers attempts to improve sales. The governor of the state Guanajuato, Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, officially opened Anpic 'La Feria De America'. A total of 1,356 exhibitors took part in the fair from 21 countries. They represented the footwear component and accessories, leather making, hides and skins traders and, leather and footwear machinery and chemicals manufacturers' sectors. The show featured a trend selection area and daily catwalk shows featuring footwear from the Marche region of Italy. Daily presentations from industry specialists from Brazil and Italy also highlighted the latest international trends in fashion and footwear technology. A fully operational model footwear production line featuring Mexican and international machinery and chemical technology was also housed inside the Poliforum building. Anpic 2004 will take place at the Poliforum, Leon, Mexico, February 21-24.

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