Trade Information Brief: Leather

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This TIB is geared towards exploring trade opportunities for SADC's producers in the global and regional market for leather articles. Over the past five years global trade in leather products grew by 7% on an average annual basis to be worth US$38,067 million dollars, which is comparable to 20% of South Africa's GDP in 2004 of US$ 213 000 million. Given this market's lucrative nature, countries have invested considerable tangible and intangible resources to establish themselves as a market leader in a specialised market segment. Commodity type products are generally produced in China, while branded luxury products are supplied by the Italians, French and Spanish.  The market's bi-polar structure provides an opportunity for SADC's producers to produce goods that fuse African cultural designs, colours, beading with the functionality of western products. SADC has access to supply and demand side resources to build its leather industry.

On the supply side, the region has access to a large livestock population, abundant labour and skilled "ethnic" artisans. To productively employ these resources; a few minor supply side bottlenecks must be addressed. SADC's producers do not have to venture far a field to tap into a growing market for their products as demand in the region outstrips supply. Imports of leather products into the SADC region grew by 18%, on an average annual basis from 2000-2005, off a base of US$ 153 million. Trade and production data illustrate that the benefits derived from economic activity tend to stay within the regional economy. A s a consequence this sub-sector is capable of supporting small-scale production that can offer the comparative advantages of cheap labour, low capital requirements and relatively simple technology (FAO , 2002).

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Leather Trade Information Brief.pdf2.85 MB