With Eid-ul-Adha just around the corner, the commerce ministry has lifted the export ban on rawhide and semi-processed leather widely known as wet blue.
However, rawhide businessmen will have to get the commerce ministry's permission beforehand to send rawhide abroad, said a circular published Wednesday.
The ministry took the decision because tanners' demand for rawhide plummeted due to their piled-up stocks of wet blue. Additionally, the ongoing pandemic severely affected leather and leather product exports – which means the tanneries will purchase fewer untanned skins this upcoming Eid.
Despite huge demand on the foreign market, including the European Union, the government has forbidden rawhide exports since the independence of Bangladesh in order to preserve the interests of the local tannery industry.
The country used to export wet blue – semi-processed moist chrome-tanned leather – until 1989. The government banned the export considering the thriving footwear and leather goods industry.
Commerce Secretary Dr Jafar Uddin said a lot of rawhide was dumped last year as tanners refrained from purchasing rawhide. Therefore, the ministry this year moves for exports instead of wasting skins of the sacrificial animals.
He said rawhide will follow export procedures like rice. Though there is an export ban on the food staple, aromatic rice is being exported.
"This means the exporters will have to submit their export plan to the commerce ministry. After examining the local market, we would determine who will export rawhide and the permissible quantity for export," added Dr Jafar.
The ministry has formed a 12-member committee that will scrutinize the applications for export. The committee comprises leather and leather goods manufacturers, exporters and government officials.