The Argentine authorities made the announcement during a meeting with the presidents of a number of associations in the leather-manufacturing chain including Eduardo Wydler of the Argentine Tanning Association (CICA); Alberto Sellaro of the Argentine Footwear Chamber (CIC); and Daniel Donikian of the Argentine Leather Goods Chamber (CIMA), together with other directors and representatives from the associations.

Daniel Donikian noted that the request for such a study was made by CIMA in the context of meetings held with the authorities. He stated that in December he had already met with Débora Giorgi to talk about the problematical situation that the sector is experiencing and asking for solutions.

Industry Minister Giorgi said “apart from the challenges we are facing for the next two years on how to continue administering trade, the priority is to substitute imports and make a leap to become more export oriented”.

Regarding leather goods Giorgi insisted that Argentina has a good production of semi-finished leather, which was worth more than US$800 million per year. “This should be transformed into finished material in terms of quality and added value which can be used in the manufacture of footwear or bags”, she stated.

Giorgi also noted that there is an important effort being made “in the area of trade – not only to discourage exports that have little added value, but also to incentivise collaboration between productive companies of footwear and leather goods so that they might have the scale and technology necessary to make the “export leap”.

In this sense she indicated that today Argentina is exporting around US$34 million in leather manufactured goods. “Leather goods and footwear are the two sectors where we can reach export levels in the next two years which will recover, especially in the case of leather goods, the US$140 million that we managed to export in 2007”.

Source: CueroAmérica and translated by Richard Smith