Greetings from Shanghai, where Leather International has been in amongst it on the trading floor for this year’s All China Leather Exhibition 2018.

As one of the special dates in the leather industry’s calendar, the numerous halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre are as noisy with traders and suppliers from across the world coming together to talk turkey.

But while the mood here over the last couple of days has been buoyant, as we’ve come to expect, it is also one that is dominated by the spectres of Presidents Trump and Xi, as the two leaders continue their ongoing tit-for-tat trade war. 

Manufacturers and suppliers Leather has encountered – both American and Chinese – are fed up with the status quo and are desperate for some sort of resolution. Such unpredictability is not good for business, they say. Mr Trump’s proposed tariff list includes a number of leather and industry related items, including belts, bags and furniture – although footwear is yet to be targeted. 

There’s little evidence of antipathy to be found here, however, with one US exhibitor praising the China Leather Industry Association for being “on the same page” with its American counterparts. “We’re as concerned as they are,” agreed another Chinese supplier.