Mr. Trump: we’re arriving!
At UITIC – the International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians Congress in Porto, Alberto de Castro informs the American President that Portuguese footwear has set its sights on the North American market.
The recent history of Portuguese footwear narrated as if it were a musical. This is the fun and playful concept behind the speech of Professor Alberto de Castro, President of IFD – the Portuguese development financial institution and coordinator of the last four strategic plans undertaken by the footwear industry, who with the song “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor, depicts the development of an industry, which at the beginning of the Eighties was considered to be on its last legs, and which today, instead, is the protagonist of a growth trend so incredible, it is now promoted as the “sexiest industry in Europe”.
After eight consecutive years of growth, Portuguese exports, which represent 95% of its total production, reached more than 150 destinations worldwide in 2017, ending the year with a total of 83.3 million pairs exported for a value of 1.96 billion euros, which is a respective growth trend of +20% and +52% over 2010. Over the years, even the price of Portuguese footwear exports has experienced a leap in quality from the 9.70 euros per pair of 1988 to today’s 24.78 euros per pair: in the global classification, it now comes in second only to Italy.
To the question: “And now, where are we headed?”, Alberto de Castro replies by presenting the strategic plan for the Portuguese footwear industry, which is focused on innovation and communication, training and regeneration, and the innovative initiatives undertaken by FOOTure, the public investment plan launched in order to bring the sector into the Industry 4.0, thanks to an investment of 49 million euros.
The fundamental aim is that of working on the perceived positioning of Portuguese footwear – explains Alberto de Castro – by bringing it closer to the global leader in values, Italy, and by arriving at 2.5 billion euros in exports over the next decade.
A goal that the sector’s association intends to fulfil by also focusing on the strategic market of the United States, where Apiccaps predicts export values will double to 160 million euros by 2020.
This is why the speech of Alberto de Castro ends on the auspicious note of “New York, New York” and on the playful warning of “Mr. Trump, please be aware that Portuguese footwear is arriving”.