Global activities are being impacted, for the most part, by the pandemic. Beside from that, there is increasing competition from alternative materials. And, last but not least, the segment must await a clear direction from the Biden administration and the international relations that it wants to build. After a difficult 2020, the US leather segment is facing a challenging new year. LHCA, the association that represents the hides’ traders and tanners of the USA, believes the aforementioned.
The struggle during 2020
During the year 2020, the United States exported raw hides and semi-finished leather for a value of 894 million USD, equal to 276 million less than the year before. The data shows that salted leather lost 25% on yearly base, while wet blue lost 24%. China is the main client for salted bovine leather, importing a value equal to 374 million USD. Italy, on the other hand, is the main destination for bovine wet blue. Other relevant markets include South Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam.
Facing a difficult year
2020 was weighed down by Covid-19, that’s obvious. The pandemic’s effects on an already-complex markets are still not gone. In regards to the previous year, LHCA points out that the repopulation process for the animals, which started in 2014, ha come to an end: this fact can be seen by the growing trend of bovine units slaughtered.But the most concerning aspect is the behavior of competitors, often unfair, that supply alternative materials and erode leather’s market share. That’s why the association restates its effort to protect the natural product it represents, staring with the initiative titled “Real Leather. Stay Different”.
Waiting for Biden
The Biden administration has the capacity to impact the 2021 of LHCA. “The president has pointed out his priorities: focusing on internal matters, including the recovery of the US economy”. After that, Biden is “re-examining the commercial aspects negotiated by the ex-president Trump”, at an international level. With regards to trade wars, the administration “should approach the matter in a way that includes China in the discussion, along with the traditional allies of the USA, to re-evaluate the commercial agreements”. While Washington will not quicken the removal of “US tariffs on Chinese goods”, write LHCA, “many Chinese tanneries have requested, and received, exemptions for duties imported in the US”.
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