Business & Industry

Dec 1, 2016

SOUTH AMERICAN WAY

History teaches us that the first exports of Argentina's leather to Europe, was made by a tannery founded in 1790. By that time, the primary reason to rear cattle was for their valuable skin, and meat was just a by-product.

Nowadays, it is quite the opposite, as meat is the primary reason why cattle are reared and leather is the by-product. Just the same, the leather industry in Argentina is still one of the oldest and most traditional industries in Diego Maradona and Leo Messi's homeland.

The south American country is estimated to have more than 60 million cattle roaming the vast pampas, and just over 12 million are slaughtered every year to satisfy the growing appetite for the meat, in and outside borders.

The result is that there is a lot of skin for the thriving leather industry to deal with.

Argentina has almost 200 tanneries that process the raw hides and transform it into shoes, clothing and other accessories. According with the Argentinean National Institute of Statistics (INDEC), the consumption of shoes and other leather accessories has decreased almost 30 percent in 2016. As an example, INDEC registered a shortfall of 28 million unsold footwear or even no longer produced.

The country produces annually more than 45 million square metres of tanned full grain leather and is set as the world's fifth largest producer. Twenty percent of this, to be manufactured into footwear, clothing, accessories and automobile upholstery.

In Argentina, the leather industry employs 60,000 people and even though the decreasing of the transformed goods, the sector appears to be strong and willing to survive the international crisis.

The three largest buyers for Argentina's leather goods are China, United States of America and Italy. The south American country, however, doesn't have the political and economic stability, to develop the ideal manufacturing sector, like the Italy does.

Argentina has a strong historical tradition in equestrian products - such as bridles, reins, saddles and boots - considered the best in the world.

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