Intense lobbying by the Conseil Technique du Cuir (CTC), in concert with other trade organizations in France, has secured public funding for its collective actions in favor of the French leather, footwear and leathergoods industry, at least for 2012. It is unknown, however, whether it will continue to benefit from this very important source of revenues in the future.

On Dec. 5, CTC published a harsh statement, requesting a meeting with François Baroin, French minister of the economy, finance and industry, to share the deep concern of its board of directors about a plan by the government to set a limit on the public funds that it has been getting automatically over the years.

Until now, CTC has been getting nearly half of its financial resources directly from the companies operating in the sector through a tax based on their revenues. In 2010, €10.7 million worth of proceeds collected through this tax were transferred to CTC for numerous R&D, training, documentation, intellectual property protection and foreign development initiatives for French companies. Earlier this month, CTC organized an interesting forum at a French fair to encourage youngsters to work in the leather sector.

A new government regulation, approved by the Parliament a few days ago, instituted the principle of a limit in the amount collected through this “parafiscal tax” that will be allocated to trade organizations every year. Fortunately for it, the final decree set a limit of €12.5 million for 2012, but CTC is wondering what will happen in future years. It has been unable to decided on a business plan for the next four years.

CTC employs a total of 230 people in France and abroad. In addition to the public funding, it got revenues of about €10 million last year from private clients for specific projects. CTC has three quality control laboratories in China, one of which may be transferred to a different location. It set up an office in New Delhi last summer, in connection with its participation in the Expo Riva Schuh India fair. CTC will have a more prominent spot in the convention center of Riva del Garda during next month's regular Expo Riva Schuh show.