Following an investigation, the Commission has imposed punitive tariff duties on leather shoes from China and Vietnam.
Unlike garments and undergarments from China, which flooded the EU market in the summer of 2005 leading a re-imposition of EU trade quotas, the duties on shoes are being imposed because the Commission found that the two South-East Asian countries are paying hidden subsidies to their respective footwear industries. In reaction to the findings, Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, on 23 February 2006, announced plans to propose the imposition of anti-dumping duties (see EURACTIV 24 Feb).
These proposals, for the imposition of provisional measures, were approved by the full Commission on 23 March 2006. Definitive measures must be adopted by regulation and therefore approval from the Council is necessary.
The duties will come into effect on 7 April 2006 and will rise progressively until August 2006 to reach a rate of 19.4% for shoes from China and 16.8% for shoes from Vietnam. For different reasons, children’s shoes as well as hi-tech sports shoes will be excluded from the duties. The Commission says consumers will not be significantly harmed because the duty only concerns 11% of all shoes sold in the EU, and it will only add about 1.5% to consumer prices for these shoes.
Chinese shoemakers said they will appeal the Commission’s decision in a plea likely to be presented at the beginning of April 2006.