Government export agency Apex-Brasil have signed an agreement with Brazilian Tanners’ Association CICB, Footwear Association ABICALCADOS, and components association ASSINTECAL to work together to promote exports of Brazilian leather and leathergoods. The pact designates resources of R$43.9 million (US$19.5 million) for export promotion projects over the coming year. The agreement was signed in Franca, Sao Paulo state, on June 26.

Juan Quiros president of Apex Brazil, spoke of the long history of co-operation between the associations. ‘We believe that the new projects will continue to make a great contribution to increasing exports of leather, footwear and components.’ He added that the strategy involved adding value to the product, looking for more specialised niche markets, and discovering new clients across the world.

The new partnership with CICB will include investments of R$ 6.3 million, which will be used to help its 163 member companies reach exports in the order of US$17.8 million over the coming year. Leather exports grew 8% in 2005 on the previous year and according to CICB, the outlook for the coming year is positive as several new markets have been opened up. For example, exports of leather and leathergoods destined for South Korea increased by 62% last year.

According to CICB president Umberto Siliao Sachelli, this new initiative not only serves to reaffirm Brazil’s leading position in the leather export and production ranking but also gives a large number of companies in the leather production chain the opportunity to operate on the international stage, generating employment and reinforcing the Brazilian balance of trade.

Apex and CICB have been working in partnership since 1998.