The Impact on Industry and Competitiveness
Chapter 9: Tanning in Eastern Europe, Brazil, Mexico and India
This chapter presents case studies of the tanning industry in countries in Eastern Europe and the South, that is, countries to which the tanning industry has been shifted. The key questions are: what attracts the tanning industry to these countries, and how is competitiveness affected by economic liberalization and environmental pressure? THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND POLAND Tanning in Poland and the Czech Republic declined in the 1980s with the loss of the footwear market in COMECON (Gjerdåker and Odegard, 1999). Large, inefficient tanneries that had previously been protected by the government found it difficult to adjust to competition in the free market throughout the 1990s. The low quality image combined with restricted access to credit and high interest rates made it difficult to finance the need for raw material, not to speak of technological and environmental upgrading. On paper, tanneries in both countries are subject to limits on discharge of pollutants to surface water. Generally speaking, the limits are lenient and few in the Czech Republic compared with Germany, Italy and Portugal. In Poland discharge limits have been established for more pollutants and the levels are also more on a par with those in the three Western European countries (Leather, November 1996). Having said this, the limit for discharge of total chrome in the Czech Republic is 2 mg/l as in Italy and Portugal. In Poland the limit is 1 mg/l. In order to fulfil requirements to become part of the EU, pollution control authorities in both countries are...
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