Mexico's footwear industry will be one of the main beneficiaries of the accelerated elimination of import tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 2002.

Tariffs on Mexican footwear - ranging from 17.5 to 22.4 per cent - were removed six years ahead of schedule.

The Economy Ministry now says that the move will promote greater shoe exports by Mexico, since footwear from other countries to the US will continue to pay tariffs between 37.5 and 48 per cent.

It added that US footwear exports to Mexico total 530,000 pairs, or $2.6 million, while Mexican footwear exports to the US total 22.2 million pairs or $51 million.