Leather and footwear industries in Serbia have reported a 17.2 per cent year-on-year decrease in output for the first nine months of 2003.

The decrease, according to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce's association of shoe makers, is mainly due to unlawful imports of leather and shoes, unregistered domestic production and illegal employment practices.

The association claims low-quality, low-cost Chinese and Turkish imports, arriving in the former Yugoslavian nation through illegal channels, are the primary culprits.