Over the past six years, Uzbekistan has made a powerful breakthrough in the development of its own production and export of footwear. According to the Association of Leather and Footwear Manufacturers of Uzbekistan (Uzcharmsanoat), if in 2017 the country produced only about 10 million pairs of shoes, this year it is planned to produce 246 million pairs. At the same time, exports of leather and footwear products increased from $85 million in 2017 to $460 million in 2022; by the end of this year, export figures could reach $600 million.
These data were presented by the chairman of the Uzcharmsanoat Association Fakhriddin Boboev in an interview with Worldfootwear.com. He noted that the basis for such rapid growth is a sufficient raw material base in Central Asia, as well as comprehensive support for the industry from the state in solving problems of localizing import-substituting products, creating convenient infrastructure, and training professional personnel.
Enterprises in the leather and footwear industry are provided with a whole package of benefits and preferences, customs and tax benefits. An exemption is given from customs duties on the import of equipment, parts and components, raw materials, materials and components not produced in Uzbekistan, according to a list of 227 goods at a zero rate, and an exemption from a number of types of taxes is provided until 2026.
The government of Uzbekistan approved the creation “in 16 regions of the country of small industrial zones specializing in the leather, footwear and fur industries with appropriate infrastructure.”
According to the Chairman of the Association, the CIS countries today are the main importers of Uzbek products, but he also notes the growing interest in “Made in Uzbekistan” in other regions of the world. Over the past 5 years, the range of exported leather and footwear products from Uzbekistan has increased from 18 to 78, and the geography of exports has grown from 8 countries to 45. Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, Belgium, Egypt, Korea have appeared among the new countries importing Uzbek footwear. USA, UAE, Japan, Cameroon and Colombia.
Uzbekistan is creating the basis for attracting foreign private investment. Currently, about 100 foreign investors from all over the world are implementing investment projects and export contracts in Uzbekistan.
Another key element of the association's strategy is to attract Western brands through outsourcing. “By working with Europe or America, we will bring new touches, experience, technology and knowledge to our national industry, based on the values and principles of these regions, including such aspects as respect for the environment and labor protection, as well as strategic management,” - noted Fakhriddin Boboev.