Some 600 footwear industry leaders will gather in Leon, Mexico in November to mull strategies to grow the industry and tackle illegal commerce, particularly stemming from China and Asia, according to industry executives.

Speaking at the launch of the Sapica footwear trade fair in Leon, Mexico's shoe production hub, they said the sector will discuss new business opportunities for manufacturers. While many have developed a strong reputation for quality leather and security footwear, Chinese rivals are increasingly denting their fortunes.

Mexico will discuss export opportunities with India, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Italy, Vietnam and even China, leaders said during a panel to announce Mexico's coordination of the congress scheduled for 24-25 November.

"The idea will be to promote Mexico in these new markets and enter new production contracts," said Carlo Benedetti Cavalieri, who presides over supplier association ANPIC. "Mexico has shown it's ready to compete on a global scale with quality and increasingly fashionable footwear."

According to Benedetti, Mexico aims to double its footwear exports in the next five years from around 13% of current output. He said production costs are up to 40% lower than in developed markets.

Meanwhile, Ysmael Lopez Garcia, president of top industry federation Ciceg, reiterated past complaints about government inaction to help the industry fend off Chinese imports, noting that of 20m pairs arriving in the country between January and February 2014, 13m were from China.