• cotance@euroleather.com

The COTANCE Presidency meets Industry Commissioner and Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani

On July 30, 2012, Industry Commissioner and Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani received in Brussels the recently elected COTANCE President Rino Mastrotto. President Mastrotto headed a small delegation composed by COTANCE Vice-Presidents Muirhead, Roselló and Mercogliano as well as COTANCE Secretary General Gonzalez-Quijano.

This encounter between the governing body of the European Leather Industry and the Member of the European Commission in charge of Industrial Policy served to underscore the leadership of European leather producers, notably in key areas of sustainable development, as well as their crucial role in technical, fashion and luxury value chains. With a turnover of some 8 billion Euro, a positive trade balance, worldwide best environmental practice and social accountability standards, European leather is a key player at global scale and in global value chains, representing some 15-17% of global leather trade in value.

Vice-President Tajani is to present later this year a Communication on Industrial Policy outlining the policy objectives and initiatives that aim at strengthening the competitiveness of European industry. The European Commission is also to address aspects of the customs union and the internal market, and enter into further Free Trade negotiations with third countries.

The COTANCE delegation expressed the challenges and opportunities of the European leather industry in this context notably against the background of the difficult economic momentum. It advocated for EU action in several policy areas for providing the sector with the appropriate regulatory framework for reaching further highs in its development.

European leather producers addressed the need to regulate the use of the term leather and the labelling of leather products as a matter of urgency for protecting the industry and consumers from deceptive practices (and the associated risks) and harmonising the composition labelling requirements for substantially all leather articles along the lines of the EU Footwear-labelling Directive. They also called on the Commission to seek to it that trade agreements effectively secure the access to leather markets and raw materials in strict reciprocity for European tanners. Some other issues regarding technical matters were also addressed.

Commission Vice-President Tajani expressed his support to the points made by COTANCE and indicated that these will be addressed in the Competitiveness Council under the Cyprus EU Presidency later this year. He also confirmed that he would follow up with his colleague, EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht, those issues regarding improved access to foreign markets and raw materials.