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High leather production costs in Uruguay could lead to more job losses

Tanning industry leaders in Uruguay fear the loss of jobs the sector has experienced there is likely to continue. Production costs are high there and operators claim it’s difficult for them to compete with rivals across the border in Brazil.

A recent newspaper article in Uruguay quoted Willie Tucci, a director of automotive leather manufacturer Bader as saying that the only place with higher production costs than Uruguay in his company’s global network of 13 plants is its home country, Germany.

In the same article, Álvaro Castagna, the sales manager for Zenda JBS, part of JBS Couros,which is the biggest manufacturer of leather in the world, said the Uruguayan plant had begun to sell wet blue to customers around the world rather than process the hides to the finished state. The newspaper, a weekly called Búsqueda, quoted Mr Castagna as saying Zenda JBS had adopted this new policy “almost as a survival strategy”.

JBS Couros director, Carlos Obregón, commented that his role running operations in Brazil and in Uruguay has led him to conclude that production costs in Uruguay are three times higher. Zenda JBS is one of the operators that has begun lobbying the Uruguayan government for lower water, energy and environmental management costs.





Schill & Seilacher D

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