EU approves duty extensions on shoes from Vietnam

European Union ministers made final decision by voting on Dec. 22 to extend anti-dumping duties on shoes from Vietnam and China for 15 months.

The duty extensions, expected to come into force on Jan. 1, 2010 will apply to middle and high-end leather shoes–the major export staples of Vietnam’s leather and footwear industry that are currently offered at a more competitive price than those from other countries.

Early information suggested that ten countries voted in favor of the duty extension, including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Greece and Slovenia. There were 13 nations voting against the plan, yet the decision was taken because of abstention votes by four nations– Germany, Austria , Malta and Latvia, which would be considered as supportive of the plan.

The European Commission - the legislative arm of the EU - is currently imposing an anti-dumping tariff rate of 16.5 percent on Chinese and 10 percent on Vietnamese leather shoes.

The imposed tax on Vietnam’s exported shoes over the past three years caused serious impacts on Vietnamese footwear makers employing more than 650,000 workers.

Earlier, the EU anti-dumping advisory committee that is composed of senior trade officials from 27 member states, voted on Nov. 19 not to extend the tariffs.

The EC first imposed the anti-dumping duties in 2006 after European shoe manufacturers complained that they were unable to compete against low-cost producers in China and Vietnam.

Punitive taxes on imported shoes created a strong division within EU members since its introduction to limit the market share of cheap Chinese and Vietnamese shoes.

Many EU member states described these duties as “protective” of European shoemakers’ community from foreign competition. Famous retailers such as Clarks, Adidas and Puma also voiced against EC’s protective measures.

According to EC statistics, leather footwear from Vietnam and China currently accounts for 30 percent of the European market share.

Source: VNA

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