Desperate times call for desperate measures. That is to say: limiting European exports of raw and semi-finished materials outside the EU borders. The possibility of making a formal request to the European Commission is being considered by UNIC – Conceria Italiane in agreement with Cotance (the European confederation of national trade associations). Both consider it, in the light of the Ukrainian war crisis, “a fundamental support initiative for European tanneries”.
EU raw material exports must be limited
“In the light of all the problems of raw material supply,” reads a UNIC note, “placing restrictions on European exports of raw/semi-finished hides and skins would make it possible to deal with an extremely critical purchasing situation”. This – explains UNIC – is because “the main non-European competitors, from Asia and South America, have greater availability of raw materials”. Therefore, ‘they will benefit commercially from the economic consequences of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine’.
The trade relationship between Italy and Ukraine, Russia and Belarus shows particular dynamics, mainly related to the purchase of raw materials and, above all, wet blue. “This area – UNIC underlines – is worth about 3.5% of Italian purchases of foreign raw materials“. In this context, “Ukraine ranks 10th as a supplier country”. The export of tanned Italian leather, on the other hand, “is not of primary importance: it accounts for 1% of the total. But the consequences of this crisis for the national tanning industry are “incalculable“. The commercial stress experienced by Italian leather manufacturers, who have effectively lost their outlet to these markets, is having repercussions on orders from Italian tanneries. This contributes to making ‘international price trends even more complex, fragile and volatile, causing further upward pressure’.