19 February 2024

Italy - Italian minister calls for immediate action to protect the leather sector

Image shows (left to right): Fabrizio Nuti, Massimo Bitonci and Susanna Ceccardi.

The president of Italy’s national tanning industry body UNIC, Fabrizio Nuti, held a meeting in Rome on February 14 with Massimo Bitonci, one of the ministers in the country’s ministry for business and ‘Made In Italy’. A member of the European Parliament, Susanna Ceccardi, also attended the meeting. Report by Leatherbiz.

UNIC described the encounter as an important opportunity for its president to talk to the politicians and discuss “the numerous issues and concerns affecting the Italian tanning sector in a complicated economic environment”.

After the meeting, the minister said: “Processing hides and skins into leather is an area of excellence in our country and is renowned internationally. But it is at risk of being undermined by new regulations in the European Union on deforestation.”

The European Commission has published regulations that, as things stand, will enforce full traceability of products, including hides, by 2025. This is to give buyers in Europe a guarantee that products they bring to market have no link to deforestation.

“This requirement imposes an unnecessary increase in bureaucracy on a sector [the Italian leather industry] that not only causes no harm to forests, but actually recovers waste from the meat industry and turns it into a noble material,” the minister said.

He went on to call the proposed regulations as “the latest in a long line of examples of the supposedly green ideology that has taken hold in Brussels”. Mr Bitonci said the new rules would serve only to help supply chains outside the European Union. He argued that this would also put the business of leather manufacturers in Italy at risk, posing a threat to employment levels and to the supply of what he called “a fundamental resource for luxury Made In Italy brands”.

He said there needs to be “immediate action” to protect the entire leather value chain.

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