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International Trade - Italy Has Surpassed China as Top US Leather Export Market
11 September 2019

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is now formally involved in the tariff dispute between China and the US, reports Leatherbiz.

Following the imposition by the US of extra tariffs on a new list of imports from China on September 1, China initiated a dispute at the WTO.

Sourcing Journal’s Arthur Friedman writes that a new report from IndexBox on the “U.S. Leather and Hide Market. Analysis and Forecast to 2025,” showed revenue for the leather and hide market in the U.S. fell 12.1 percent last year to $558 million compared to the previous year.

“Overall, leather and hide consumption continues to indicate a drastic downturn,” according to the report. “The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2015 when the market value increased by 0.6% against the previous year. Consumption peaked at $1.1B in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, demand remained at a lower figure.”

Leather and hide exports from the U.S. in 2018 were flat with the previous year at 161,000 tons. In value terms, leather and hide exports were $506 million in 2018, according to IndexBox, which conducts market research, does consulting work and produces detailed industry studies.

“Over the period under review, leather and hide exports continue to indicate a deep slump,” the report said.

The main destinations for leather and hide exports from the U.S. were Italy, which took in $171 million worth, or 56,000 tons; China, with $154 million, or 50,000 tons; and Vietnam, with $98 million, or 30,000 tons, combining for 84 percent of total exports. Vietnam recorded the highest growth rate of exports of the top countries over the last five years, while the other leaders experienced a decline, according to the report.

In 2018, the average leather and hide export price was $3,136 per ton, down 12.8 percent against the previous year. The highest prices were for shipments to Thailand at $3,367 per ton, and Vietnam at $3,271 per ton. The average price for exports to Taiwan was $2,761 per ton, and Italy, $3,072 per ton, which were amongst the lowest.

Leather and hide imports into the U.S. in 2018 increased 16 percent to 11,000 tons and has increased at an average annual rate of 10.7 percent over a five-year period. In value terms, leather and hide imports stood at $206 million in 2018. Imports, according to the report, “are likely to see steady growth in the near future.”

Shipping 4,900 tons, Brazil accounted for the largest supplier of leather and hide to the U.S., making up 45 percent of total imports. That marked a threefold lead over the second-largest supplier, Uruguay at 1,800 tons.

Brazil constituted the largest supplier of leather and hide to the U.S., comprising 38 percent of total leather and hide imports, valued at $78 million. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Italy at $37 million, with an 18 percent share of imports.

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