NEW YORK — The government-ordinated “Made in India” initiative hosted a breakfast here Thursday, coinciding with the FFANY Shoe Expo. With speakers from India’s Ministry of Commerce special leathers committee, the Council for Leather Exports, the breakfast served as a call-to-arms for the American accessories industry to take notice of Indian leather manufacturing.

The government there has been adamant to increase its leather production exports: providing multiple tax breaks, incentives and subsidies to foreign companies who wish to investigate the region.

Officials cited the country’s demographics as a reason that Indian manufacturing is on the rise. With 65 percent of the country’s population under the age of 35, CLE chairman M. Rafeeque Ahmed called the nation “a most important manufacturing destination.”

He went on to note that unlike many Asian manufacturing hubs, India utilizes English as its official working language — a convenience for Western firms.

The Indian government says the country’s leather industry employs 2.5 million people — 30 percent of which are women. It processes approximately two billion square feet of hides annually, only 10 percent of which are exported and the remaining majority of which is consumed domestically.

The government projects that the Indian leather industry will grow 25 percent in the next five years.

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