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No anti-dumping duty extension

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September 18, 2008

EU: No anti-dumping duty extension for Vietnamese shoes
EU member states dealt a setback on Wednesday to plans to extend anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese-made leather shoes, AFP quoted an official and a diplomat as saying.

In a non-binding decision, member states rejected the proposal from the European Commission 15 to 12, according to the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The anti-dumping measures were introduced in 2006 to combat an influx of leather shoes into Europe from the two Asian countries that Brussels said unfairly benefited from state aid.

"We are going to have to digest the decision," a commission official said after the vote.

Consumer and some business organisations welcomed the rejection, saying that it sent a strong signal that there was little support in Europe for renewing the duties.

"Now we expect a clear signal from the commission that the duties will expire," said Xavier Durieu, secretary general of the Eurocommerce business and trade lobby.

"These duties have been in place already for too long. They did not help anybody," said Monique Goyens, director general of the BEUC consumers association.

"Consumers, who currently already face huge price increases, namely in the food and energy sectors, have had to pay the bill for long enough," she added.

The EU anti-dumping measures, which were originally imposed for two years, involve import duties of 16.5 percent on Chinese shoes with leather uppers and 10 percent on the same kind of shoes from Vietnam.

The measures have been a source of conflict between member states, with the main vote faultline running between Europe's economically liberal north, hostile in principle to anti-dumping measures, and the more protectionist south, sympathetic to the views of EU producers.

The issue's recent re-emergence comes as EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson prepares to head to China next week for high-level talks.

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