European shoe makers ask for protection against eastern imports
September 29, 2009
European shoe manufacturers are lobbying the European Commission to give them more protection from potential surges of cheap imported shoes from China. Spanish and Italian footwear companies are asking the European Commission to extend the duties put in place in 2006 that prevent the mass importation of footwear from markets such as China and Vietnam.
European retailers, including those in the U.K. are opposed to the 16.5 percent duty on shoes coming from China and the 10 percent duty on shoes coming from Vietnam. In October last year, Lord Mandelson extended the anti-dumping tariffs for an extra 12 months in order to be able to assess the impact on the market. The tariffs are due to be lifted in January next year if it is decided that they are not needed.
Experts say that a continuation of tariffs against far eastern imports could damage relations with countries like China. Manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas are strongly opposed to the restrictions because most of their footwear is produced in countries such as Vietnam.
The European Union’s footwear manufacturers are keen not to see a repeat of the influx of eastern goods that they witnessed in 2005. Over the five years leading up to 2005 imports from countries like China rose a staggering 1000 percent and the result was the closure of 1000 manufacturers across the E.U.
The Italian footwear manufacturers are also calling for compulsory labeling of the country of origin on all shoes. This is being asked for because it is believed that consumers would prefer to buy shoes made in Italy over those coming in from the east because Italian manufacturing standards are perceived as being far higher.