Tuesday, January 2, 2007

When the shoe fits

Buying foreign, especially high fashion, products has evolved into a growing trend among China's expanding middle class. Almost all world famous brand names such as Gucci and Prada have set up franchise stores in China. EU-made shoes have long been viewed as the pinnacle of fine quality but about 200 pairs of shoes imported from the European Union were recently burnt in Hangzhou, eastern China province of Zhejiang. A spokesperson said imports did not pass quality inspection complied with the rules of the WTO. The amount of shoes destroyed made up nearly 70 percent of the shoe imports inspected by the Zhejiang Industrial and Commercial Administration in the third quarter of the year. Correspondingly Zhejiang, a major shoe production base in China, saw the EU exports drop to a record low for the year of 180 million pairs in October, down 66.4 percent over the same period of last year. Meantime four Chinese shoemakers have sued the European Commission, seeking the withdrawal of the 16.5 pct duty on leather shoe imports into the European Union.

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