Recently, a piece of news reported by Leatherbiz said that the exports of US hides in 2015 declined by 17.4%, thus, as the journalist of China Leather Website, the official website of CLIA (China Leather Industry Association), we interviewed Stephen M. Sothmann J.D., M.B.A., the president of U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association by e-mail. He analyzed the main reasons which caused the decline of U.S. hides export and as the industrial institution, Stephen suggested that some measures should be taken to help the enterprises for increasing the trade volume during the situation of sluggish market.
Stephen M. Sothmann J.D., M.B.A., the president of U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association
He pointed that the quantity of hides and skins exported in their statisticswere unfortunately a little bit misleading. The source of the statistics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimated the number of pieces exported based on the declared value of each shipment. Values declined about 20% last year, thus the statistics were somewhat incorrect regarding quantity of exports. The true number of export quantity decline is somewhere around 5%, which is the total reduction in cattle slaughter rates in 2015.
As for the drop in hide and skin export values, the trend followed the broader slowdown in all commodities in 2015. As demand for leather slowed in 2015 around the world, so too did the demand for U.S. hides and skins. Thus, the value decreased by the nearly 20% for the year when compared to 2014.
In addition, Stephen said: “While the business cycle in leather is cyclical in nature, we as an industry must do a better job of promoting leather as an essential component material that cannot be substituted. We need to explain to the consumer that the characteristics of leather, such as quality and sustainability, cannot be easily replaced by cheaper alternatives made of synthetic materials derived from oil. By doing this, we can increase overall demand for leather globally and reduce the impact of a downward business cycle”.