They reviewed the state of the leather trade concluding that after a relatively positive first semester in 2008, the year has ended with a severe contraction in demand for leather. With orders down 20-40% in the last quarter of 2008, European Tanners have been obliged to adjust their operations in terms of output and costs. The global economic slowdown and the recession in some countries is adversely affecting leather markets. According to COTANCE, an improvement in the leather trade is not in sight before the third quarter of 2009.
In this context, the European Leather Industry is concerned about the likely increase in third country protectionism and an exacerbation of EU red tape.
The Council issued the following statement on February 2, 2009:
‘The European Leather Industry considers that under such circumstances EU and National authorities should be looking at all possible means to support the leather value chain and to safeguard its employment. Operators expect their authorities to help SMEs to adjust with, among other initiatives, the supply of appropriate trade finance and the stimulation of demand with a policy of fiscal incentives. Furthermore, European Tanners understand that it is not the time for increasing the already costly administrative and bureaucratic burden that the sector has to face. Conversely, they call on their political leaders to postpone the implementation or suspend the enforcement of regulations that are already known to have a negative impact on the competitiveness of industry and to refrain from developing new cost burdens for the leather sector in Europe.
COTANCE Members decided to convoke without delay the representatives of the leather value chain in Europe for setting up a platform and developing joint advocacy actions towards EU institutions and National Governments.’