• cotance@euroleather.com

COTANCE calls on the European Commission not to delay the procedures for regulating at EU level the use of leather terms and the labelling including origin of leather products within the current legislature

The COTANCE Council met on February 18, 2013 in Brussels under the chairmanship of President Rino Mastrotto (Rino Mastrotto Group, IT) reviewing among others progress on one of its priority policies: the legal protection of the term Leather against abuse and mis-descriptions. This is a matter on which the international leather community is looking for authoritative solutions coming from Europe.

In this respect COTANCE has engaged in an ICT supported Campaign aiming at regulating at EU level the lawful use of the term leather and the uniform composition labelling of leather products on the model of the EU Footwear Labelling Directive. Last 30 July 2012, COTANCE President Mastrotto with his colleagues in the Presidency received from Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani assurances on the taking up of this objective.

As a result, the Commission Staff Working Document on POLICY OPTIONS FOR THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE EUROPEAN FASHION INDUSTRIES — ‘WHERE MANUFACTURING MEETS CREATIVITY’ (SWD(2012) 284 final/2) adopted on October 5, 2012 states that “… while the labelling of textiles and footwear (including leather footwear) is regulated at EU level, no EU legislation covers the labelling of leather and leather products as such.”, and indicates that “The Commission will therefore explore the need for and feasibility of labelling in the field of leather and leather products at EU level.”

The need and the feasibility of labelling in the field of leather products was the object of the study performed by MATRIX on the labelling of leather products for the European Commission. It was published on February 1, 2013. The results clearly indicate the need for at least “authenticity labelling (real leather)”. Moreover the European Parliament adopted on 17 January 2013 a Resolution on the indication of country of origin for certain products entering the EU from third countries (2012/2923(RSP)) underscoring the importance of origin marking among others by recalling “…, as on previous occasions, the importance of preserving, as part of multilateral trade, a level playing field between EU enterprises and their competitors from third countries and of taking a consistent approach in order to ensure consumer protection; stresses that this is also important in order to give value to high-quality production and environmental and social standards in the present context of global competition, which is particularly relevant for SMEs;” and stressing furthermore “… the need, until such time as new legislation is in place, to use all available means – at regional, national and EU level – more efficiently in order to allow consumers in the single market to make better-informed purchase choices, including through education and by raising public awareness through the mass media”.

Now, for proceeding with the actual legislative procedure a “legislative impact assessment” needs to be launched.

The COTANCE Council calls on the European Commission to seek to it that the process is enacted without further delay for allowing the submission of a draft Act within the current legislature

Brussels, 22 February 2013