Trade War, a glimmer for US leather, though losses are evident

Good news first: Trade War, currently underway between the USA and China, is enjoying an easing of tensions for the time being. On top of that, as negotiations between Washington and Beijing have started again, both parts are giving each other small favours, to show their own good intentions. China’s Ministry of Commerce made public a list of 16 products, made in the USA, which will be exempt, for a year, until September 2020, from additional duties set in retaliation for customs duties imposed by Trump and his government. There might be a glimmer then. China’s State Council Commission for Customs Tariffs keeps talking to companies and associations to pinpoint a new list of American commodities to be exempt from duties, ranging from 5% to 10%. USHSLA, the United States Hide, Skin and Leather Association, felt some relief when they saw that a number of hides and skins have been added, so far, to the second list.

Yet losses are evident

Despite a few prospective exemptions, trade war has already caused relevant damages anyway. The Denver Post spotlighted its effects on Colorado economy. Here Jerry Zink, founder of the Sunnyside Meats slaughterhouse, tells journalists that his Chinese clients have faded. That is forcing him to deliver raw hides into dumps: what a shame indeed. “I would rather give them out free for a year – he says – just to attract new buyers into the leather tanning business”. This is the problem: since Chinese buyers do not know what is going to happen in the next six weeks, from the purchase order until hides and skins delivery, they simply decided not to buy US hides anymore. Trade War is going to affect China’s importers as well. For example Xero Shoes, whose expenses have gone up; not to mention that its managers must expend a great deal of effort to understand, and possibly control, trade war consequences.


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