May 22, 2012
-- Nicaragua will be showcasing why it has become an attractive and increasingly competitive footwear production platform during its upcoming investment forum titled “Nicaragua, The Right Step!”. The event, which is hosted by PRONicaragua, the official investment promotion agency of Nicaragua, in coordination with the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), will be held on June 13th and 14th in Managua’s prestigious Barceló Hotel.
Footwear manufacturers, international footwear brands, industry associations, retailers and industry consultants are expected to attend the event, representing countries such as the U.S., Dominican Republic, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America and Japan.
Renowned international speakers include Matt Priest, President of FDRA; Mike Jeppesen, President of Global Operations Group; David Spooner, Principal Negotiator for DR-CAFTA in his role as Textile & Apparel Negotiator and Transition Coordinator in the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR); Mike Todaro, Managing Director of American Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN); Clay Jenkins, Senior Vice-President of Global Sourcing, Compliance & New Business Development of Brown Shoe Company; and Leandro Winter, Director of Tecshoes Latinoamérica S.A.
The program will feature an overview of the international footwear market, industry trends, commercial footwear rules and market access, as well as Nicaragua’s main advantages for investments in this industry, which include a favorable business climate, competitive cost structure, preferential access to international markets, pro-business legal framework and its high levels of personal safety.
The program also includes site visits to international footwear manufacturing companies operating successfully in Nicaragua, during which participants will be able to witness their world-class facilities and learn about their experience investing in the country.
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), in its recently published 2012 Annual Footwear Sourcing Forecast, showcased Nicaragua as a “rising star” with great potential to increase its footwear exports to the U.S. In this forecast the U.S. is advised to restructure its sourcing strategies and options due to China’s increasing prices, shortages in labor and increased compliance costs, and to “keep an eye on Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nicaragua”.