• cotance@euroleather.com

COTANCE Presidency calls for official monitoring of the critical shortage of hides & skins on the EU market that drives prices to unsustainable levels

The COTANCE Presidency met on April 3, 2013 in Bologna under the chairmanship of Mr Rino Mastrotto (Rino Mastrotto Group, Italy) on the sidelines of the Lineapelle Fair, Europe’s largest Leather Fair. They expressed high concern on the developments on the raw materials market. Availability of certain essential raw materials is vanishing at an increasing speed due to rising extra-EU export levels of hides and skins and prices that are reaching unprecedented levels. Those most affected are the hides and skins to be destined for the World’s top fashion and high-end industries, the brands that make the prestige of Europe. They depend on the quality leathers that are the speciality of EU tanners.

European tanners, already enduring the credit crunch in the Euro zone, witness the proliferation of export restrictions on raw materials in most resource-rich countries and the drain of Europe’s own raw materials. They find it intolerable that public authorities continue to ignore the gravity of the situation. It is high time for taking the necessary measures capable of redressing this situation that is taking hostage a leading industrial sector in Europe. Failure to do so could compromise seriously the competitiveness of Europe’s leather sector, the cradle of the creation of wealth and employment in the leather value chain.

The COTANCE Presidency calls for the official monitoring of availability and prices of hides and skins at EU level. This measure is clearly foreseen in the EU Regulation setting the common rules for exports for addressing situations such as the present one and acknowledging the critical shortage prior to taking eventual corrective measures.

If exports of European hides and skins continue to rise at the current rate and access to foreign raw materials cannot be secured in the short term, the EU should not refrain from setting itself safeguard measures that secure European tanners the necessary availability of resources at reasonable prices.

Trade authorities in EU member States ought to raise this issue without further delay with the European Commission for sending a clear sign of care to Europe’s leather industry, a sector composed of about 3000 SMEs across the EU employing directly some 50.000 workers and generating a yearly turnover of approximately 8 billion Euro of which a quarter in extra-EU export earnings.

Brussels, 9 April 2013