The German federation of footwear and leather goods manufacturers, HDS, is to work with the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) to "defend" the sector's interests before European institutions in Brussels.

HDS said it required active representation in Brussels, and that the agreement announced this week would see FESI head Alberto Bichi become HDS' EU public affairs director in Brussels.

"I am sure that this is the beginning of a long lasting fruitful collaboration between HDS and FESI where both associations will maintain their independence but work together for the achievement of the common goals," said HDS head Manfred Junkert.

Bichi said there are "many EU policy fields where FESI and HDS have similar if not exactly the same interests, many of which in the field of international trade; product safety, intellectual property rights or even environmental as well as research and innovation".