In the first quarter of 2006, Chilean shoe exports dropped by 12.6% in value terms to US$1.2m compared to the same period last year as local producers struggled to compete with low-cost producers like China.

The latest data from the Chilean chamber of footwear and leather products Fedeccal (Federacion Gremial Camara de Industriales del Cuero, Calzado y Afines) showed the volume of Chilean shoes exports fell by 6.7% in the three-month period.

The main markets for Chile's shoes exports were Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

In contrast, shoe imports in the first quarter increased by 13.9% year-on-year to US$101m. The main supplier was China, with 84% of the total, followed by Brazil, with 4.0%, and Vietnam with 3.0%.