Bangladesh’s leather industry has been struggling to find new investment, due to the demand for leather products faltering in the global market, which has been attributed, by industry insiders, to the US-China trade war and a lack of vigilance concerning the tannery situation in the country.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the sector registered a negative growth of 9.08%, resulting in earnings of $771.69 million in FY2018-19 (July-March). This figure was $848.79 million during the same period in the previous fiscal year.
Bangladesh exports leather products to South Korea, China, and the European Union, among others. But these countries have started using artificial leather products, which are more affordable, said Shaheen Ahmed, chairman of the Bangladesh Tanners Association.
“China used to take rawhide from us to make raw materials by doing further processing. The US government has signalled an imposition of 25% tariff on a number of Chinese products, including leather, entering the US market. Eventually, this has affected us badly, since China has stopped taking rawhide from us,” he added.