The European Union’s trade chief is proposing protective duties of nearly 20 percent on shoe imports from China and Vietnam. The Commission says there is compelling evidence of so-called dumping by Chinese and Vietnamese exporters of leather shoes, who benefit from state intervention. If approved by EU nations, the tariffs will start at 4 percent in April. Trade commissioner Peter Mandelson recommended phasing in 19.4 percent duties on Chinese shoes and 16.8 percent on Vietnamese footwear over six months.
But he said certain imports should be exempt: “The duty on children’s shoes would disproportionately affect families with young children, and in my view would not be in the public interest. For sport shoes, our investigations suggest there is no longer sufficient production of these shoes in Europe for injury to have been demonstrated.”
The shoes case is one of several anti-dumping actions involving China. Brussels is probing whether China exports plastic bags more cheaply than it can produce them. A Europe-based group of major shoe importers says minimum import prices, not duties, are the best way to protect EU manufacturers without hurting the consumer. It claims the Commission’s expected action would push up prices before next Christmas.