The country’s leather industry is suffering from rising imports and a pessimistic economic outlook.

According to figures recently released sewn shoe uppers rose by 38.6% at 11.96 million pairs; handbags, bags and small articles were ahead 7.3% at 30.84 million pieces; while leather clothes more than doubled to 4.4 million suits.

Imports of leather footwear from January to October 2000 fell by up to 4%, to 24.53 million pairs, compared with the same period the previous year

Imports of cattle hide hit a new low, down from 3.23 million hides in 1998, 3.13 million hides in 1999, to 2.7 million hides in 2000.

The quantity of leather produced by tanners has continued to decrease with factories said to be operating at 40% capacity.