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Cheap footwear imports from China staggers domestic industry
Aug '08
In the first half of this year, import of cheap footwear from China has amplified by a very high percentage to touch more than 86 million pairs of shoes which is nearly the same amount as for the entire 2006.

Additionally, Chinese footwear is gradually becoming more inexpensive. For instance, last year a pair of Chinese shoes cost Kc35 on an average while the prices this year have dropped to Kc30.

As a consequence, domestic footwear manufacturing is going down the slopes and shoemakers are troubled by the stiff competition posed by their Chinese counterparts. In the past 17 years, Czech production has plummeted by more than 10 times, from 71 million pairs of shoes in 1990 to 5.1 million pairs last year.

Even the number of employees in the footwear industry declined considerably from over 35,000 staff members in 1990s to 4,000 registered last year. Although footwear exports from Czech Republic is on a constant rise, most of the goods are actually made in China. Last year, over 142 million pairs of shoes were exported from the country of which 120 million originated from China.

To make matters worse, strengthening of the Crown and increasing cost of input is making Czech footwear even more incompetent in the international market. It is difficult to see how the industry would extricate itself from this complex situation, but if Government initiates proper measure and intervenes to stabilize the market conditions, the scenario can be bettered to quite an extent.

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