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Egyptian leather industry suffers from foreign competition.
Deep in the heart of old Cairo, Ain el Seera neighborhood is home to leather workshops and
factories where workers are often seen busy processing
leather.Egypt's raw leather exports is worth 1.4 billion Egyptian pounds annually, according to the Federation of Egyptian Industries.The biggest importers of raw Egyptian leather is Italy,
which buys 80% of Egypt's export.The leather used in Cairo's
factories come from a variety of animals.Mohamed Hassan, a worker at a leather factory explains how the leather tanning works.
"We receive the skin of animals regardless of the type of the animal whether it is cow, buffalo or any other animal. After that we apply salt to [the leather] then it goes through two processes. The first process is the chemical process where hair on the leather is removed, and it is dyed and greased. Then there is the mechanical process where the leather is rolled and thickened,"
But despite leather making being a centuries long tradition, there is a huge gap in revenues between the business of raw leather and finished Egyptian products Mohamed Harbi, the head of the leather tanning at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, explains why."Our shortcomings are only in the finished products. We are lacking the products that can help us compete with the Turkish, European, American
and Chinese products. Of course after the latest decisions by the government to control pricing on Chinese products, the door to protecting national production has been opened which may in turn
create chances to finally export a product that is made in Egypt in 100%," he said.The main competition comes from leather products imported from China, Turkey, and Europe.
"The leather making industry is facing fierce competition from foreign markets that are trying to penetrates the Egyptian market to bring products in. It is actually fighting the Egyptian products.
I want the Egyptian consumer to search for Egyptian products first that have the highest quality. The consumer will find extremely suitable products to fulfill his needs," said Khaled Sayed, owner of a leather product shop and a factory.
Recently, the Egyptian government placed benchmark pricing for leather products imported from China that constitutes 70% of leather products in Egypt, according to local media.
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