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FESI urges EU to reconsider decision on footwear imports from Vietnam
27
Jun '08
FESI – the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry is deeply concerned by the EU's decision to abolish GSP preferences for Vietnamese footwear exports.

“This decision is indefensible. It represents a kick in the teeth for both the Vietnamese footwear industry and the modern European footwear industry, which relies on Vietnam as a competitive source of supply.

We strongly urge EU Ministers to reconsider this move,” said FESI President Horst Widmann.

Removing preferential EU access will have a devastating effect on a key pillar of Vietnam's economy at a time of severe economic turmoil.

It will only compound the damage caused by the 10% antidumping duties imposed on Vietnamese leather shoes two years ago, which have led to a 23% drop in exports of leather shoes to the EU.

Paradoxically, it is this artificial decline which led the EU to conclude that the Vietnamese economy is now less dependent on footwear exports, thereby justifying the abolition of GSP preferences.

“Vietnam is getting a double punishment,” Widmann said. “Removing preferences after imposing anti-dumping duties is irresponsible. Graduation in this case is not a success story, but a disaster.”

FESI is also disappointed about the distinct lack of transparency surrounding the factual basis for the EC's decision to remove the preferences.

It is particularly concerned by the European Commission's failure to disclose how it arrived at the import figures supporting its proposal.

Vietnam, the second most important EU source for footwear following China, is one of the poorest countries in the world, and footwear exports continue to represent one of its key revenue earners.

The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry

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