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Vietnam is the bright spot for US wet blue exports

US hide exports in the first five months of 2019 reached 10.2 million in volume and $534.5 million in value.

These figures, which include wet salted and wet blue hides represent a decline year on year of 16.9% in volume and of 26.3% in value.

Tanners and traders shipped almost 8.5 million wet salted hides and 1.75 million wet blue over the five month period, with an export value of $349.9 million and $184.6 million respectively. This indicates declines of 17% in volume and of 32% in value for wet salted, and of 16% in volume and 11% in value for wet blue.

One bright note was exports of wet blue to Vietnam, which increased by 34% in volume compared to the same period in 2018 and by 49% in value. Vietnam was the second-most important market for US wet blue exports in the first five months of 2019, after Italy. Italy imported US wet blue hides worth $56.9 million between January and May (a decline of 27% year on year), while the value of wet blue shipped to Vietnam was $53 million.

In terms of volume, China was still the second-biggest market for US wet blue over the period, importing 486,506 hides, compared to Italy’s 513,787 and Vietnam’s 480,037. However, in value terms, China was third, spending $50.5 million on this material. China’s imports of US wet blue in the first five months fell by 23% in volume and by 19% in value.

Chinese tanners have told World Leather they have begun to pay higher tariffs on US wet blue in recent weeks as a result of the trade dispute between the two countries. Tariffs have increased from 3% to 13%, they said.

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