BISNIS, part of the US Department of Commerce, Washington DC, has reported that the government of Uzbekistan has issued a decree separating the leather industry from the textile industry, and establishing a new leather industry association called Uzbekcharmpoyabzal.

The new association will be responsible for managing and developing the Uzbek leather industry, including the procurement of leather for supply to processing factories. It will also promote the export of Uzbek leather and leather products, and control exports of unprocessed leather.

There are currently four joint stock companies, three joint ventures and three private companies processing leather in Uzbekistan. These companies have an annual processing capacity of 3.5 million skins.

From now on Uzbekcharmpoyabzal will purchase raw skins from individuals and farmers, as well as from industrial slaughterhouses.

Also noteworthy is that foreign companies are being invited to participate in the production of leather chemicals, colours and additives in Uzbekistan. Foreign investment is also being sought in new production technologies, particularly at factories in Khodjaabad, Urgench and Kokand.

Most Uzbek producers of leather products, such as shoes and handbags, are looking to co-operate with foreign partners. Overall foreign investment in the leather shoes sector exceeds US$24 million, with joint ventures accounting for 38.4% of Uzbek leather shoe production last year.