The registration under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registrations and Protection Act), 1999, would give the product an exclusive brand image similar to the Darjeeling Tea or Kanchipuram silk sarees.
It was in 1856 that a tannery unit was established on the EI technique (after the East India Company, which popularised the technique in this part of the country besides using the leather products made out of it for the British army).
EI leather has a considerable demand in Italy, France and other western countries as it is considered to be the best variety for manufacturing garments, handbags and shoes.
The local tanners here are, however, are facing tough times with the government imposing stringent pollution norms and exports declining with the advent of chrome-processed finished leather.
This has also resulted in a number of tanneries making EI leather across Trichy and Dindigul shutting shops. Today, this number is down to just 20 from around 120 two decades ago.