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Anti-dumping tax issue irks EU Alliance

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October 4, 2008

Anti-dumping tax issue irks EU Alliance
The European Footwear Alliance issued a press release to express its disappointment with the European Commission's proposal to extend anti-dumping duties on shoes shipped from Vietnam and China, Vietnam News Agency reported.

"The review is opposed by a majority of member states and harms the interests of consumers and Europe's very own footwear sector," the EFA said in a statement.

The European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson proposed extending anti-dumping duties on imports of leather-capped shoes from China and Vietnam pending a review, a spokesman said, according to Reuters.

"The spokesman said a final decision by the EU's executive Commission was expected in the middle of the week, and that the intention was to carry out any review as rapidly as possible. Duties apply during any such review," Reuters stated.

The proposal was still issued despite the fact that a large number of EU countries rebelled against the plan at a meeting of the EU's anti-dumping advisory committee held in Brussels on September 18.

Retailers and multinational corporations which manufacture in China and Vietnam due to the low labour costs, have been hit by the global economic slowdown and oppose the proposal.

At the meeting in Brussels, 15 countries opposed the idea of a review for the duties and 12 were in favour.

Eight European organisations with vested interest have also recently issued press releases to oppose the renewal of anti-dumping tariffs.

They included the European Consumers Organisation, the European Trade Promotion Organisation, the European Association of Fashion Retailers, the European Sportswear Industry Federation, the European External Trade Union, the European Branded Footwear Coalition, the European Outdoor Group, and the Federation of German Shoe Industry.

"Mandelson was quoted by the Financial Times as saying he was swayed by evidence that cheap imports were harming the European industry," Reuters stated.

Anti-dumping duties exist to protect markets from multinationals who can, due to their size, power and financial clout, choose to sell their products for lower than market price, undercut smaller companies and thus achieve a monopoly.

Vietnam and China's shoemakers are not multinational conglomerates like Nike or Adidas, but can sell their footwear at cheap prices due to low overheads and labour costs. The Government feels that the proposal has been introduced simply to protect select European manufacturers unable to cut it in the global market.

To oppose the renewal of anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese footwear, Le Danh Vinh, deputy minister of Industry and Trade said last week in a statement, "Vietnam has called on the European Commission not to extend its anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese leather-capped shoes and to let the current tariffs end on October 6."

Vinh added that "Vietnamese footwear companies do not dump goods into the European market and do not pursue a dumping policy."

"The EU should not maintain anti-dumping measures on Vietnam and Chinese products, notably in the face of high inflation and economic slowdown. This policy only protects un-competitive producers," Vinh explained.

At present, Vietnamese footwear exporters must pay an anti-dumping tariff of 10 per cent. The review may last 15 months with the same duties, although the EC may seek to shorten it significantly.

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