The leather industry has been around for thousands of years – ever since mankind began hunting animals.
Hides and skins are a by-product of the meat industry, so supply does not react to demand for leather, but for meat. Leather is used in the automotive, footwear, furniture, clothing, leather goods and exotic leathers (e.g. ostrich) sectors.
Leather makes a contribution to the quality of everyday life: virtually everyone wears or uses one or more leather products on a regular basis.
The following are the main categories of skins or hides according to species.
Sources: A Profile of the South African hides, skins and leather market value chain 2015, available at www.daff.gov.za; The introduction to leather at www.leathercouncil.org.
2. International business environment
- Visit www.leathercouncil.org, website of the International Council of Tanners.
- Find international news and commentary at https://leatherbiz.com.
- "Serving the global leather & fashion industries", www.aplf.com. Its Leather Pipeline is an "exclusive fortnightly market intelligence report".
South Africa imports and exports
The South African government is looking to ban the export of of raw and wet salted hides, and to place an export tax of 20% on wet blue grain and drop splits, and full substance wet blue hides - see heading 4.
The major market for South African exports is Asia, followed by Europe. Hides and skins are imported from Brazil, India and Argentina. The latest annual A Profile of the South African hides, skins and leather market value chain looks at exports and imports. This includes tariffs and standards which have to be satisfied to access various markets like the EU, China and the USA. (Developing nations produce leather for export under license from retailers/buyers in developed countries, according to what these buyers want.)
Sources: A Profile of the South African hides, skins and leather market value chain 2015, available at www.daff.gov.za.
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