The US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) has said the escalation of the trade tensions between the US and China will mean increased tariffs on some exports of raw material from the US to tanners in China. However, it said on May 14 that most US exports of hides and skins will continue to face the current 5% tariff, with no increase.
With hide prices cheaper than they have been for years, small hikes on tariff levels have been easy for Chinese tanners to absorb so far. However, the ongoing tensions with the US appears to be causing a much more serious decline in consumer confidence in China and beyond; this is by far a more serious challenge for tanners and almost all manufacturers.
Talks broke down on May 10 and the US announced that tariffs on US$200 billion worth of imports from China would increase from 10% to 25%.
China responded on May 13 by announcing retaliatory tariffs, ranging from 5% to 25% on goods worth US$60 billion that it imports from the US. These rates will apply from June 1. A number of hides and skins products appear on the long list published by China’s ministry of finance at the time of this announcement although it’s still not completely clear which rate will apply to each.
Products listed include unsplit whole raw bovine hides, wet blue bovine hides, wet blue pigskins and hair-on sheep and lambskins. Finished products including leather handbags and small leathergoods also appear on the list of imports from the US that China has targeted.
In response, the US immediately proposed 25% tariffs on a further US$300 billion in Chinese imports to the US. According to USHSLA, this effectively means “proposing tariffs on all remaining imported goods from China”. It said leathergoods, footwear and “other relevant items”, imported from China are included on the US’s May 13 proposed tariff list.
Information courtesy of Leatherbiz