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The comprehensive plan against shoe smuggling and the future scope

In the last days of the current summer, the comprehensive plan against shoe smuggling, requested by Mojtaba Khostrotaj, deputy minister of commerce in early July, has been prepared in a 170-page printed version, and delivered to the beneficiaries and enthusiasts.

The research project, as was the project ‘the future of shoe industry in 2025’, has been co-organized by the Association of managers and experts of Iranian shoe industry, ARA holding group, and a group of experts in the field.

However, in the 3rd and 4th paragraphs of the statement of the sixth national conference of leather and footwear and associated industries of Iran held in early August in Tabriz, the industrial groups and footwear chain guilds requested for ‘taking action in making strict and absolute policies against illegal import of shoes’, and ‘preparation of the national plan against footwear smuggling’.

The research conclusion, which was published in the Association’s journal, under the title ‘Yes to legal importations and No to smuggling’, has presented 47 solutions against illegal actions in 10 levels. It has also attempted to focus on fighting smuggling to strengthen domestic footwear producers and encourage people to buy Iranian shoes.

The current article is an effort on analysis of the research conclusion. It is clear that the possibility of success in the mentioned scheme needs contribution from all beneficiaries and key factors acting against smuggling, especially concerning footwear and leather.

The organizations and relevant officials would include Anti- Goods and Hard Currency Smuggling Headquarters, the Judicial System, the Customs Administration, Iran’s police headquarters, ministry of intelligence, the Tazirat Organization, Inspection Organization, the Central Bank of Iran, Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, the Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, company airports and air navigation of Iran, the ministry of industry of industry, mine and trade, Ministry of Cooperative Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, commercial commissions in Majlis, Chambers of Commerce, guild unions and footwear and leather chain groups, Iran Chamber of Guilds, producers, importers and those involved in shoe and leather industry and all who are directly or indirectly  linked to smuggling.

in the analysis of categorization of the suggested solutions to tackle shoe smuggling, among the total of 47 solutions, 19 of them, which are classified as the most important, show high and very high risk level of smuggling. Six solutions are aimed at preventing from smuggling, two solutions are in importation management, two solutions are for distribution, four preventive solutions (cultural, advertisement), creating culture for promotion of using domestic productions and avoiding foreign goods.

Only 5 solutions among all, are security related, including: intensification of monitoring in loading, discharging and storing goods in warehouses, information checks before entering into the borders.

This investigation shows that in categorization of solutions and the scheme against footwear smuggling in Iran, the policies on strengthening domestic productions and obviating the possible impediments are more highlighted. The share for preventive actions is much bigger than aggressive measures. The more the government is focused on the preventive and peaceful measures against smuggling, the importance of the violation would wane out.

The five solutions gaining the highest priority against smuggling, shows that fighting footwear smuggling does not need huge, complicated programs to be suppressed, but the realization of the motto: Iranian shoes, guaranteeing the next generation’s employment, would be enough.

The motto would come true using the capacity of cultural centers, including media productions, to disapprobate buying smuggled shoes and with the help of determine and  motivated. It also can decrease the share of smuggled goods in domestic consumption.

Solutions such as using the prevailing domestic capacities to promote joint productions with foreign investments (long-term), establishing a custom service specialized for footwear (short-term), encouraging supplying, production, distribution and sale  in chain value of leather and footwear, using official and identified factors in all economic and commercial activities  (short-term), the role of industrial groups and guild unions in establishing business management consulting center (short-term), and creating access to quality and economic raw material for producers in the chain value of leather, footwear and linked industry (long term, are among the most important measures taken to increase the risk and price of smuggling and strengthening domestic production.

It is clear that solutions such as modifying the importation prices, highlighting the role and position of guild unions throughout the country in managing  distribution of imported shoes, presenting facilitation for brand owners, social and cultural movement for media and advertisement support to relevant campaigns like: “along with Iran”, “I wear Iranian shoe”, using social media and cyber space capacity for promote the culture of purchasing domestic made footwear, using experts’ opinion in industrial groups and guild unions to determined the value of imported shoes, using the capacity of the free trade zones for importation and state of the art technology transference instead of buying the final products, are also among the preventive and control measure taken as contribution.

The simultaneous publication of ‘comprehensive plan against footwear smuggling’ and implementation of ‘issuing certificates for agencies and branches of foreign apparel companies in Iran’ on one hand, and the approved guideline of the 13th session of the working group tasked with supporting production and controlling good circulation in supply platform, held on the 30th of the month of Khordad on the other hand would create a fresh atmosphere for the keys of footwear smuggling network and vast distribution throughout the country.

In addition, Mrs. Nasrollahi, director of apparel industry office in the ministry of industry, mine and trade, delivered a speech at the 5th national conference of Iranian footwear in late July in Tabriz said fighting against smuggling is a duty of chamber of guilds and guild units throughout the country.

It seems that strict measures planned against smuggling is more focused on the official customs and domestic distribution network and the commercial and business officials have considered the warnings of industrial groups on giving any point to foreign productions and leaving the domestic goods, to protect employment and decrease unemployment rate.

The goal is achievable through creating culture, using national television channels and degrading of using smuggled goods. Although increasing smuggling prices would definitely lead to new cheating strategies to distribute the illegal goods throughout the country, including social media and online markets, the customers would incline to domestic productions like leather, shoes and apparel. This is an excellent opportunity for the producers. Iran’s shoe industry will experience a revolution if the domestic industry men be able to use the occasion to strengthen production of a wide gamut of high quality products using the information gained from the market and the customers.

Otherwise, and in case of putting unwise policies into action, we should expect a day, when governments prefer the welfare of society to the convenience of producer.

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