Footwear manufacturers, international footwear brands, industry associations, retailers and industry consultants are expected to attend a footwear investment forum taking place in Nicaragua next month.

The event, titled 'Nicaragua, The Right Step!' is intended to showcase Nicaragua as an attractive and increasingly competitive footwear production platform - with sourcing and investment opportunities for firms in the US, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America and Japan.

The two-day programme will feature an overview of the international footwear market, industry trends, commercial footwear rules and market access, as well as Nicaragua's main advantages for investments.

There will also be site visits to international footwear manufacturing companies operating successfully in Nicaragua.

Speakers at the event include Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA); Mike Jeppesen, president of Global Operations Group; David Spooner, principal negotiator for DR-CAFTA in his role as Textile & Apparel Negotiator and Transition Coordinator in the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR); Mike Todaro, managing director of the American Apparel Producers' Network (AAPN); Clay Jenkins, senior vice-president of global sourcing, compliance & new business development at Brown Shoe Company; and Leandro Winter, director of Tecshoes Latinoamérica SA.

In its recently published 2012 Annual Footwear Sourcing Forecast, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) showcased Nicaragua as a "rising star" with potential to increase its footwear exports to the US.

The forecast advises the US to restructure its sourcing strategies and options due to China's increasing prices, shortages in labour and increased compliance costs, and to "keep an eye on Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nicaragua".

The footwear event, which is hosted by ProNicaragua, the country's official investment promotion agency of Nicaragua, in coordination with the FDRA, will be held on 13-14 June in Managua. Click here for more details.