24th Sep 2023

EU states split over anti-dumping duties on shoes

  • Another issue dividing member states (Photo: EUobserver)

A European Commission plan to impose anti-dumping duties to prevent shoes from China and Vietnam undercutting EU manufacturers, divided member states experts in the EU's anti-dumping committee meeting on Thursday (16 March).

Only three countries voted in favour of the Commission plan, nine to ten voted against it while 11 abstained giving the cold shoulder to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's proposed provisional duties, the Financial Times reports.

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Mr Mandelson recently proposed provisional duties of 19.4 percent on shoes originating in China and 16.8 percent on shoes from Vietnam, both to be phased in over five months beginning at around 4 percent in April.

Children's and sports shoes would be excluded from duties under the current proposal.

Despite some member states' demand for tougher measures and other member's demands for no measures to be taken at all, the Commission came out with an overall positive result from Thursday's meeting.

"The Commissioner's proposals represented a middle ground and there was no majority against his balanced approach," EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's office said in a statement.

Trade officials noted that abstentions were considered as votes in favour under the rules of the anti-dumping committee, according to Reuters news agency.

The vote was only consultative, and the commission will use the coming months to "establish a consensus among member states on a definitive course of action'', according to the FT.

Leather shoes from China and Vietnam

China and Vietnam have protested against the commission's recommendations.

China's Commerce Ministry has said that the anti-dumping duties would mark a "step backwards" in trade relations between Europe and China, according to The Times Online.

Beijing has warned it might take the shoe issue before the WTO.

Italy, with a large shoe producing industry itself, has complained that the measures are not tough enough. "We won the battle but not the war," said Italian vice minister for trade, and responsible for foreign trade, Adolfo Urso.

Scandinavian countries, importers of shoes from Asia, have rejected the need for anti-dumping duties at all. European retailers and importers have warned the duties will jeopardise jobs and push up prices.

The Federation of European Sporting Goods, whose members Nike, Puma, Adidas and Reebok and make most of their shoes in Asia, said the duties would lead to unjustifiable price increases.

"The proposed duties are a subsidy to a few uncompetitive producers for which European importers, retailers and consumers will have to foot the bill," said FESI President Horst Widmann according to AP news agency.

The provisional duties will formally be adopted on March 22.

Mr Mandelson said speaking before the European Parliament on Tuesday (14 March) that the EU had a "right and an obligation to act" against what he called unfair trade practices by China and Vietnam but the protective duties would not shield Europe from the need to restructure its footwear manufacturing industry.

EU announces anti-dumping duties on large shoes

The European Commission has announced provisional duties of 19.4 percent on large-sized leather shoes from China and 16.8 percent on shoes from Vietnam. Children's footwear - shoes smaller than the European size of 37.5 - will be exempted.

Brussels pushes ahead on China shoe tariffs

The European Commission has pushed for new measures against leather shoes from China and Vietnam despite member states' representatives having rejected two previous proposals this summer.

14 EU states torpedo plan on cheap Asian shoes

The European Commission is running out of time for setting up an anti-dumping scheme to deal with leather shoes coming from Asia at below-cost prices, after member states experts rejected a second proposal on Thursday.

EU shoe duties cause disagreement

Anti-dumping measures will force Europeans to pay more for new shoes, some MEPs are saying on the eve of the adoption of the provisional duties, while an EU shoe makers group thinks the claim is "ridiculous".

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