Hong Kong's footwear exports edged up by 0.6% in 2007 to US$5,963m, while imports were down 1.7% year-on-year to $5,137m.

At $2,636m the US remained the largest export destination, taking a 44.2% share of the total. This, however, is a 2.9% decrease from 2006.

Of the top ten export markets, Japan, ranking second, fell by 5.1%.

Shipments to the fourth largest destination, the UK, dropped by 14.8%; Canada, in fifth place, was down by 13.6%; and the Netherlands, in ninth place, cut its shipments by 28.2%.

On a brighter note, exports to China, Hong Kong's third largest footwear customer, increased by 17.3%.

Likewise, Germany was up by 18.2%, Italy rose by 21.7%, Australia grew by 10% and exports to Spain were up by 14.7%.

Increased exports to the smaller markets offset the loss from the bigger markets. Shipments to the EU as a whole increased by 2% and to Asean fell by 0.7%.

Footwear imports presented a different story.

China, with an 88.9% share, is Hong Kong's biggest vendor country, while the rest of the top nine importers combined totalled just 9.2%. Of these, imports from the EU took up 5.2% and Asean 2.1%.

Total footwear imports in 2007 fell by 1.7%. Imports from China were down by 4%, and those from the US fell 4.2% and from Japan dropped by 0.1%.

By Vicky Sung.