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Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) is showing an interest in purchasing Ethiopian Shoes for the US market.

The 11 executive members of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), an association that represents 80 percent of the country’s footwear market, visited  shoe factories and tanneries in Addis Ababa and the surrounding area last week.

Shoe distributors like Wolverine, LI & Fung, and RG Barry were among the visitors.

The association also met with the Federal Chamber of Commerce, the Industry Ministry, and the Intellectual Property Office to learn about Ethiopia’s investment climate.

Thomas Crockett, leader of the US business delegation and Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs with Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) said that his association looks forward to working with Ethiopian companies.

“We are happy about what we have observed in the Ethiopian companies and when we look at the cost of electricity, labor and land we see a good opportunity to invest and work here. So we will tell our association members to consider buying footwear from here and investing in Ethiopia,” he said.

According to the director, Ethiopia exported 2,100 pairs of shoes into the US market in the first six months of the current year, which is an increase from the 1,500 pair of shoes in 2015.

Crockett noted Ethiopia’s efforts to utilize the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and improving export quality and quantity have contributed to the increase.

Beamalaku Demissie, General Manager of Anbessa Shoe Share Company said that the visit by FDRA is a big opportunity to show Ethiopian products.

“As we always say we have to increase our export volume, and to do this, we need to show our product to the global footwear buyer. So this is a very good opportunity to build a relationship,” he said.

Founded in 1944, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) support more than 100 companies and over 200 brands.