MM&T in Hong Kong is underway following a press conference and a lot of attention heaped on Focus Country Turkey, which has become synonymous with the challenges that currently grip the leather industry.

From prices dropping 40% last July to cheaper crude prices affecting demand and geopolitical tensions, Turkey is experiencing a perfect storm. Ruken Mizrakli from the Istanbul Leather and Leather Products Exporters Association (IDMIB) and Turkish Leather Council (TLC) gave a talk on the country’s strong history, tradition and attraction in the global leather market place, but the overriding questions revolved around the country’s dependence on the Russian market and having historically put too many eggs in one basket based on fast, easy and cash-based business.

But she mentioned, during the opening ceremony to inaugurate their pavilion on the main concourse, that they are here to stimulate strategies to diversify − adapting to the ‘new normal’ − and Iran and the US were at the top of list.