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Leather Industry News

Western boots at risk in US-Mexico trade war of words - worry for SA ostrich tanners

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Frik Kriek; SCOT Marketing Director
Western boots in the US - 1 of 3 key markets for SA ostrich leather - are likely to be affected by any changes to US-Mexican trade relations, including the threat to impose new import duties. A high percentage of Western boot manufacturing has moved from the US to Mexico, and further afield.
 
        "We're concerned about the implications of tariffs," says SCOT marketing director Frik Kriek. "It will for sure have implications for the ostrich industry.
 
        "We're considering different options on how to deal with this, but until such time as they make a final decision and we get the detail, we can't do anything.
 
        "Trump will not be able to change the NAFTA agreement on his own and it will have to be renegotiated. So we at least have time to prepare for changes."
 
        Thurling Investments MD Vidrik Thurling has mixed feelings: "I've been very outspoken in my criticism of US Western boot manufacturers being forced to send their production offshore in order to remain competitive. I know there's a lot of automation involved, but it's supposed to be a high-value, high-quality, hand-made American product. Instead, most of it has gone to Mexico, and some of it is now being made in China, which is very disappointing.
 
        "I'm not advocating a protectionist economy, but American boot manufacturers do need some tariff protection.
 
        "Also, some of the Mexican manufacturers have got so big they're taking big quantities of skins - up to 8 000 a month have gone to Mexico at peak times - and this pushes the price of ostrich leather below market value.
 
        "I have reservations about certain aspects of his approach, but I support what Trump is doing in this instance, and if it works, it will enhance the value of exotic leathers."

Sutherland Tannery: Awaiting written offers

Published: 9th Jan 2017
Author: Me

Durban, SA – The business rescue practitioners handling Sutherland Tannery (Pty) Ltd will have further meetings – later this week and next week – with 2 of a number of parties interested in taking over the business, Neil Button of Stowell & Co. said today.
    He said he hoped they would put in written offers by their deadline of January 21. No decision is expected before January 24.

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