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The Government affirms that the footwear sector is “enduring” the economic slowdown

The Secretary of State for the Economy, Pedro Cilínio, devalued this Monday the 1% drop in Portuguese footwear exports until Julyconsidering that the sector is “enduring” the economic slowdown, with “residual figures” of unemployment and layoffs.

“We are talking about stagnation in the sector, but in addition to last year’s 20% growth. […] Therefore, We are not facing any emergency situation.. In fact, we follow the unemployment data and the number of workers laid off in the sector and they are residual numbers, the companies are holding on,” said the government official in statements to journalists on the sidelines of a visit to Portuguese companies that, from Sunday to Wednesday they participate in the MICAM footwear fair, in Milan, Italy.

As he recalled, during the visit he made to the companies present at the last edition of the event, in February, these “They said that if they sold the same as last year they would be happy,” and “that is what is happening.”

However, minutes before the Secretary of State heard from businessman Rui Oliveira, from the Fábrica de Calçado da Mata, in Ovar, that the sector “is at its limit” and that measures were necessary such as an urgent reduction of the Single Social Tax (TSU). ). ) in labor-intensive sectors, such as footwear.

“I am not at all against the increase in the minimum wage, but we must be careful with labor-intensive industries, because the labor factor weighs heavily on the final value,” said Rui Oliveira, recalling that Companies “are still suffering the consequences of Covid”finding themselves “full of debt” and “with the market reacting negatively, with falling consumption and a lower pace of orders.”

In response to journalists, Pedro Cilínio recognized that “the market context is not easy”given the “monetary policy that has been followed, mainly by the ECB [Banco Central Europeu]”, but stressed that the Government is “mobilizing new support to allow companies to overcome this difficult period.”

On the other hand, he highlighted that the Companies “have to be more attentive to market behavior”seeking to diversify exports to countries “that are not in the same economic cycle” and “to be in higher segments, where the impact of the crisis is not so strong.”

The official rejected “stigmatizing companies or segments,” pointing out that in the footwear sector there are “many segments and many types of activities” and that, for example, “talking about footwear or components will be different,” as well as “talking about footwear sports or classic footwear.”

These segments usually have different behavior cycles. For example, classic footwear – and the same thing happens with clothing – is performing more favorably than informal footwear”, while during the pandemic “what happened was a very significant consumption of informal footwear, which also generated opportunities of business”.

For the Secretary of State, the important thing is “to help companies when there is this uncertainty, so that they maintain their productive capacity and have time to breathe, look at the market and understand how they are going to readjust their strategy.”

“New markets, new segments, it is important to gain that space. The commitment to sustainability and automation, For example, there are two issues that are critical for the competitiveness of the sector,” he emphasized.

Regarding the State Budget for 2024, Pedro Cilínio recalled that it is still “under discussion in the field of social consultation”, but that, “in the field of the Stability Plan”, the Government “has already assumed a tax reduction” , and “IRS was given priority.”

“In fact, the employers themselves also asked that this issue be given priority and, therefore, it is at this point where the negotiations are being carried out,” he concluded.

Source: Observadora

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