«Opening of markets is vitally important»
A chinese Hong Kong? nothing changes

A break on leather goods
After an extraordinary '95 the market shows signs of a go-slow, due to both decline in consuption and less competitivity in exports
"With work costs greatly superior to those of competitive countries (double those of Spain, Portugal and Greece, three-four times as much as Hong Kong and Taěwan. ten times more than East Europe?) tax burdens that have no equal in Europe and are among the heaviest in the world, Italian leather goods, the gems of our artisan and creative tradition, must face an aggressive market from a weak position. This is the cry of alarm launched by Nino Rossi, president of Aimpes, at the conference to open the 70th Mipel, the international leather goods fair held in Milan from 19 to 22 September. While Italy's power to compete on foreign markets is weakened, national consumers opt for imported goods and those on market stalls. The sector's preoccupation is now to see increased relocation of produetion, with the obvious effects on Italian employment levels and possible damage to its image, which is always founded on product quality and workmanship. The "strong" lira. the slump in domestic and international consumption brought up once again, at Mipel, the questions of relocating production and of work costs. Italian manufacturers seem much more worried about these things than in the past. even though the phenomenon is still limited in this sector. but with a tendency to increase. We talked with the president of Consorzio Italian Export, Carol Leoni. "Our consortium is composed of small artisan firms, for which the situation has become difficult - explains Ms Leoni - On one hand great efforts are made in terms of creativity, only to find perfect copies on the market at a third of the price, imported from China, on the other the Chambers of Commerce themselves suggest moving manufacture abroad to lower production costs. Well, we rebel again- st this with all our strength. Our visi- ting card has always been "Made in Italy", representing the real tradition of Italian craftsmanship. Unfortunately, there is a total lack of a defence policy for this productive heritage". Of the same opinion is the Bassini firm, best known for the EI Campero brand that signifies three thousand belts, two thousand key-rings and 700 bags a day, using sixty percent of its produc- tion capacity. "One can't take these work costs any more - explodes Giano Bassini - In view of a market where the intermediary range gets increasingly

from ARPEL n.130