From ICT president to members

18 September 2001

This letter comes to you with good wishes from your newly-elected president, and from your hard-working secretariat. To those of you who attended our last council meeting in Hong Kong in April, thanks for your support. Those of you who were not able to attend can read the excellent report of these proceedings in the June issue of Leather International magazine. Issues which will occupy your executive committee for the next few months include the very important matter of positive publicity for the leather industry. Our existing internet website is far from adequate: our industry is under attack on the one hand from 'animal rights' activists, particularly from first world countries, whose message to the public is that purchases of leather items result in the death of animals, completely ignoring the fact that hides are a byproduct which we process into a beautiful and desirable material. Organisations such as PETA support active websites filled with adverse and distorted 'information' which we need to counter with our own (correct) version of the facts. ICT operates on a tiny budget in relation to the size of our global industry. We do not have the funds to employ advertising agencies, PR consultants and top flight TV ads. So we intend launching a new website to try and support our cause. Our industry is also under continuous environmental pressure from environmental organisations and governments around the world - even developing countries are no longer immune from attention. The problems with animal health and disease has also affected raw material prices, and sent major leather buyers such as Nike into defensive mode as our prices have escalated. Another significant matter was considered at the April meeting: the proposal by Unic that ICT support the Italian tanners' draft of a completely new buyer-seller contract for raw material and leather. This document has been developed over a couple of years and is much simpler than the existing international contract now in common use. Naturally, the idea of a new contract, particularly one proposed by the tanning industry, does not sit easily with ICHSLTA, who maintain that the existing contracts are acceptable and have declined to enter into negotiations over a new one. Your council has support Unic in its stance that Italian tanners will insist on the new contract, but acknowledges that this matter needs to be debated with ICHSLTA before reaching general acceptance. Finally, let me say this: ICT is your forum - the only global meeting point for tanners around the world. It truly is the world parliament of tanners. It can only function and fulfil a meaningful role if its members support it. ICT needs more member countries and it needs its members to take time to attend the annual council meeting which is normally held just before a major leather fair. Our 2002 gathering will take place in Hong Kong on Monday April 8 - please try to be there! Tony Mossop

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