With a constant growth in exports of Italian footwear, the Mercosur bloc can become an increasingly important market for Italian companies.
For the Italian footwear sector the trade agreement that was reached on 28 June between the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) is a significant result, which finally brings to a close twenty years of negotiations.
Although the elimination of customs duties on footwear is not expected to come into force for a few years, it can bring major benefits to Italian footwear companies as, in the last year alone, exports to the four Mercosur countries amounted to 303,000 pairs, for a value of more than 15.5 million Euro. In the last 10 years (2008-2018) this market has grown by 58% in volume and 85% in value (Source: Confindustria Moda Research Centre), but there is still a huge growth potential.
The high import duties that have been applied by these countries for several years (35% on all types of footwear) have prevented Italian companies from accessing the market, despite the strong appeal of Italian products in South America.
“The trade agreement with Mercosur is an extremely positive result for the Italian footwear sector and has been one of its priorities in Brussels for years,” states the new Chair of Assocalzaturifici, Siro Badon. “I would like to thank everyone who has represented us in this long and difficult negotiation. In particular the CEC - European Footwear Confederation, which is chaired by Cleto Sagripanti and the previous Chairs of Assocalzaturifici, Vito Artioli, Cleto Sagripanti himself and Annarita Pilotti, who have been strongly committed to this objective over the years, as is demonstrated by the establishment of a desk in Brussels to follow the negotiations more closely and last, but not least, Confindustria Moda for having represented the interests of the many industrial entities involved.
The terms of the agreement are not yet known, but the hope from the Italian footwear sector is that, in conjunction with agreements on customs tariffs, we will also see the implementation of regulatory standards and a speedy ratification.
Milan, 10 July 2019