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Insufficiency of hide troubles leather tanners
Mar '08
In order to prevent a further pollution in air and water, Government of China will implement new import duties on raw hides with effect from May 1.

This decision has brought about an uproar among leather tanners in China, considering the fact that the country is the largest buyer and processor of hides.

As a result, Chinese tanneries are expected to relocate their production base in Vietnam, India and Kenya.

Already a few Chinese companies have made a tour to locations in Kenya with the intention of setting up tanneries to ensure uninterrupted supply of leather for their domestic production.

Local tanners in Kenya are troubled by the prospect since they are already faced by a shortage of raw hides. Experts report that in May 2007, only half of 15 tanneries in Kenya had undertaken operation due to insufficiency of raw material.

One of the major reasons behind this persistent shortage is mounting imports made by China. In spite of levying 20 percent export tariff, purchase of raw hides from Africa increased further by around 20 percent last year, one-third of which came from Kenya and Egypt.

Following this, the Government has raised the duty on raw hide exports to 40 percent starting from January 1. It is hoped that this measure would keep a major chunk of the material within the country.

China, being the leading leather producer and consumer, utilizes about 680 million square meters of leather every year, employing about two million people for manufacturing shoes, upholstery for furniture and cars, as well as bags, clothing and other products.

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