Doubleface dilemma

15 September 2003

Turkish tanners returned from the Moscow Leather Fair (July 8-10) full of optimism. Izmir hide and skin broker, Avram Kastro, always with a pulse on the sector, reported a positive and confident mood. But not all garment makers share Kastro's expansive opinion. Many did not receive orders in Moscow and are reminded that by the end of July last year, the doubleface season was in full swing. Isin Tuzcular, general secretary of the Turkish Leather Garments Producers' Association, commented: 'Many of our members have bought their leathers but still await orders', she said. This shows up the huge differential in the production of leather garments. Most of Tuzcular's members are smaller producers who favoured the Russian suitcase trade and, despite strong efforts, were not persuaded to legitimise their business with legal exporting status. On the other hand, larger, more experienced exporters have formalised their trade and receive the perks of officialdom, such as VAT rebates and export credits. For these, doubleface production runs the yearly cycle because they process nappa out of the lambing season. But the upside is that the less responsible lot are stumbling over each other to register officially with exporters union - so much so that a misleading picture of exports emerges! (see related article entitled Export Statistics Clarified). All are acting in advance of the newly-passed Russian laws that deal the coup de grace to the luggage trade, effective January 1, 2004. Avram Kastro may be right when he predicts that: 'About thirty or forty garment makers will carry Türkiye into the future.'

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