As hide and skin prices continue to fall, a number of tanners are deliberately reneging on agreed contracts with packers and traders, and the market is in a very confused state at the moment.

A number of industry representative organisations have written to their members, and publically to the industry, about the need to adhere to the international contracts agreed by representatives and of the International Council of Tanners (ICT) and the International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders Associations (ICHSLTA).  

I think the associations should work together with force and inflict one big court case of a substantial and expensive breach to set an example for all. I also believe that, if successful, this is the only mechanism which may make other potential unscrupulous tradesmen think twice before they default in the future. One big, good, strong and clear case with considerable media publicity! The associations could, perhaps, assist with legal costs.

I do not believe anything else will ever change anything. The contract rules and regulations have turned into nonsense and the dishonest people in the industry know this. The industry needs a show of strength to tell the world that the law is still the law and a contract needs to be respected.  

It’s not just some tanners who are to blame. There are suppliers who behave just as badly. I find it unfair that people only criticise Chinese tanners now. From my own personal experience, I can tell many a story from the other side of the fence when, in the past, the market raced up and suppliers either did not ship at all, did not ship in time or did not ship what they were supposed to ship.

I also see this as a good chance for the trade associations concerned to restore some of their lost authority. I feel they should intervene and do whatever is needed to get this dishonourable practice out of the leather trade.

Ron Sauer

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