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ASOAC/COTANCE Position Statement

ASOAC - COTANCE Position Statement - June 2006

(Original French – unofficial translation)

Regarding taxes and restrictions to exports of raw hides and skins, and wet-blue, as well as customs duties on leather imports

The Leather industries of Europe and Western Africa, represented by their respective umbrella associations COTANCE and ASOAC, jointly declare their disapproval regarding the implementation of taxes and other restrictions on the export of hides and skins, and wet-blue leather, by an increasing number of countries where the tanning industry has already sufficiently developed so as to conquer an important part of the international leather trade.

COTANCE and ASOAC contend that taxes/restrictions on the export of raw materials must only be conceded to countries that have an infant leather industry and a weak share in global leather trade. Their implementation by other countries hinders infant leather industries to take full advantage of this development tool. Their proliferation causes a substantial decline of operators’ competitiveness in less developed countries with a lower export rate. They strongly distort the leather trade, hamper the inclusion of least developed countries in the international leather trade, and preclude the sound development of global trade in the sector.

COTANCE and ASOAC also declare that it is in the interest of their leather industries to see the removal, at a global scale, of tariff peaks and high custom duties for leather. Their trade deviating effect is detrimental to the sustainable development of the leather trade and industry. This should be obtained by a harmonisation and eventual removal of barriers on leather imports in all countries with a leather market, both in developed and developing countries.

COTANCE and ASOAC call on their respective governments to continue their efforts aiming at the removal of trade barriers affecting both imports and exports in the leather trade, as applied by countries that do not belong to least developed countries or countries with a weak and vulnerable economy. They would like this objective to be included in all bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and notably the Doha Round.

The signatories of this common position statement understand that the time has come for the international community to lay down appropriate rules in the leather trade ensuring the principle of free and fair trade.

COTANCE – Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community
ASOAC - Sub Regional Association of Hides and Skins Professionals in Western Africa