FURTHER to my comments last month with regard to the various exhibitions being held around the world, in this month’s issue we include reports on Pielespaña in Barcelona, Leather Days in Istanbul, the Panamerican Leather Fair in Miami Beach and the Indian International Leather Fair in Chennai.

And for the most part these reports are upbeat. However, I am sad to say that I have now attended the very last edition of PAL. Living in an English winterland I am only too delighted to spend time in a warm and sunny beach resort for a few days each cold and miserable January. But, realistically, PAL has had its day and the organisers are now determined to move forward.

There are hopes that a new exhibition in 2003, Source International, will provide a wide range of sourcing opportunities for manufacturers while, at the same time, encompassing the leather sector and providing a showcase for the American leather industry. This is, after all, still the most important consumer market in the world and what American buyers want is what the world likes to provide.

Proving that Tükiye is well on the road to recovery, leather industry exports were reported as being up by more than 20% in the first eleven months of 2001. And the ‘suitcase trade’ could add as much as another 200%. We have included a nine page report on the country.

At Pielespaña in Spain the organisers sold 14% more space and are planning to move the fashion show next year to house still more exhibitors. This is definitely a show with its eye on the international arena. In addition to the story on page 6, we have a further four pages of fashion from the fair on pages 12-15.

The good news from India is that despite all the problems of the past year, exports of leather and leather products managed to record a growth of 4.64% in the April to August period. IILF was in its second year in the new exhibition complex and the local authorities are reported as planning to expand next year to cater for more exhibitors. More about India next month.

There has been a positive response from Argentina. Although their country is currently reeling under the latest financial crisis, Argentine tanners Sadesa and Cidec are convinced that there is a future for the tanning industry.

Sadesa say they are convinced that the trouble could be short-lived and that the Argentine tanning industry will not be seriously affected because of the clear need for exports and the solid foundations of the major operators.

Andres Galperin said that his company continued to operate without major problems and spoke of the need for industry to take the lead in creating more jobs, nurturing economic stability and returning Argentina to GDP growth.

John Koppany of Cidec was a visitor to PAL and had no doubt that the Argentine leather industry would survive. This is due to the meat eating habits of the nation which ensures abundant supplies of raw hides.

Despite the fact that domestic raw hides accounted for 60% of their costs, they were already traded in dollars so were not affected by the 40% devaluation of the peso (at the time of the fair). A further 25% of chemicals, spare parts and services were also paid for in dollars, leaving a only 15% allied to the plunging peso.

Koppany said that although the country is no stranger to hyper-inflation, they have experienced ten years of stability during which time a middle class has developed between the two extremes of rich and poor. It is this middle strata which is being impoverished by the government who has frozen their savings in an effort to control the amount of money leaving the country.

Arlei were the only Argentine tannery to exhibit at the Panamerican Leather Fair.