Monday, October 12, 2009
Chinese import embargos stay in place say EC
The European Commission will extend the anti-dumping duties on EU imports from Chinese and Vietnamese shoes by at least the next 15 months. According to EU statistics European producers’ share of the EU market fell from 65 per cent to 40 per cent between 2001 and 2005, mostly because of inroads by China and Vietnam. Since the duties were imposed, the Chinese and Vietnamese share of the leather-soled shoe market has remained stable at around 30 percent, with European shoemakers holding between 40 and 45 percent. Some believe continuation of the duties will help stabilise the market share of European producers while pushing up consumer prices only slightly. Others say because Europeans do not want the low-paid work of making shoes they are forced to go elsewhere to stay competitive. The European Footwear Alliance (EFA), representing manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and Timberland have paid more than 800 million euros (1.2 billion dollars) in these taxes and have called for an end to the duty. The anti-dumping duties on footwear are essentially fines for exporting goods below production cost and these were first applied in October 2006 costing the manufacturers with operations in those countries hundreds of millions of euros. Key to the battle between Europe’s manufacturers and retailers is the issue of country of origin. Italian manufacturers want compulsory labelling of country of origin on clothing and footwear. The debate over country of origin is an important battleground within the World Trade Organisation, where emerging markets oppose compulsory labelling of geographic origin, while many traditional European manufacturers regard it as an emblem of quality and standard.