The 18th edition of the India International Leather Fair (IILF), the biggest meeting of the leather industry in India, was held January 31 – February 4. The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, officially opened the event on January 31, 2003, at the Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai.

IILF 2003 had a 13% increase in the number of exhibitors compared with 2002. Over 235 leading companies from India, as well as companies from 20 other countries around the world took part. The fair covered leather, leather products, accessories, auxiliaries and leather related services.

The IILF has played an important role in the industry and now occupies a prominent role in the calendar of leather fairs around the world. International participation was from Australia, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE and the US.

In addition, buyers and buying delegations have also been invited for the INTECHMART programme where business meetings are arranged between overseas importers and participants of IILF at the fair itself.

A workshop was also organised on CAD – Trend Presentation on February 1, 2003, and tanning and leather product experts from Denmark, Italy and the UK presented seminars on quality, design and marketing aspects.

Leather has been a huge success story for India, with the industry reaching the US$2 billion export mark in 2001. The industry is backed by a strong resource base and world-class R&D facilities. An ambitious target of 5% growth in exports has been set in the tenth plan.

The event is organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) with the active support of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), the Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers Association (IFCOMA), the Indian Shoe Federation (ISF), the Indian Finished Leather Manufacturers & Exporters Association (IFLMEA), the Indian Leather Products Association (ILPA), the Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI), the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), the Indo-German Export Promotion Project (IGEP), the Italian Trade Commission and the Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.