At Expopele, Cotance ask Portugal to make a law on leather authenticity and urge EU to change their mind

Portugal’s action might further urge (at last) the European Commission to act faster towards the implementation of regulations about the use of the “leather” term. “In fact, Portugal is planning to put into effect a national law, offsetting the lack of guidelines set by the European Union, to make clear the use of the leather term, which is going to apply exclusively to materials deriving from animal scraps processing. In doing so, Portugal will look at guidelines approved in Italy and Belgium, for example – cleared up Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, general secretary of Cotance, the European confederation of the leather national industries -. We urge them to go on this way. Likewise, Hungary and Romania have been sending similar messages. Since some EU countries start taking action, that could be a turning point, at last, for the whole European community”. Gonzalez-Quijano made his plea while giving a speech at Expopele, a conference arranged in Alcanena by APIC, Portugal’s association of tanners. The event gathered, for two days, industry players and experts to talk about challenges leather is about to face in the future. They also spotlighted the guidelines, presented before the Commission in 2012 (they have never come to completion because of the complicated procedure), to regulate the labelling of the leather material. “The European Commission wants us to assess the economic losses tanners suffered because of unfair competition; they also want us to analyse and demonstrate costs and benefits deriving from the application of labels to certify and guarantee leather authenticity – carried on Cotance secretary -. They considered data we have supplied to be inadequate. Yet, as far as we are concerned, we know that we do not need labels to certify leather authenticity. It would be enough to prohibit the definition of leather applied to non-leather materials, such as several alternative synthetic materials, available on the market, which add eco and vegan suffix to the leather term”. Furthermore, that solution would enable consumers to keep an eye on the market: “In fact, such regulation would give consumers and manufacturers the opportunity to sue unfair products traders – wrapped up Gonzalez-Quijano -. That is why we urge Portugal’s government to go on this way”.

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