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LEFASO opposes EC tariffs on shoes
13
Oct '08
Vietnam is displeased with the European Commission's (EC) decision to maintain tariffs as they review anti-dumping measures on Vietnamese leather shoes.

The EC established a 10 per cent anti-dumping tariff on leather shoes exported to the European market in 2006. This tariff was originally set to expire on October 7, but the EC has decided to maintain the 10 per cent tax for an additional 12-15 months while they review the policy.

"The EC's decision to review the current anti-dumping measures on Vietnamese leather shoes negatively impacts not only Vietnam, but also the interest of European consumers and companies and goes against their opinions," said Nguyen Thanh Bien, deputy minister of Industry and Trade.

The deputy minister said Vietnam was disappointed with the EC's decision and claimed the move would adversely affect trade and investment co-operation between Vietnamese and European firms. anti-dumping tariffs after the review [ in a bid to] help enterprises of the two sides stabilise production; European clients must have opportunities to buy Vietnamese shoes with reasonable prices, that are suitable to their taste and pockets," he said.

The decision was still issued despite the fact that a large number of EU countries rebelled against the plan at a meeting of the EU's anti-dumping advisory committee held in Brussels, Belgium on September 18.

At the meeting, up to 15 countries opposed the idea of a review for the duties and 12 were in favour.

In addition, nine European organisations with vested interests have also recently issued press releases to oppose the renewal of anti-dumping tariffs.

These included the European Footwear Alliance, the European Consumers' Organisation, the European Trade Promotion Organisation, the European Association of Fashion Retailers, the European Sportswear Industry Federation, the European External Trade Union, the European Branded Footwear Coalition, the European Outdoor Group, and the Federation of German Shoe Industry.

The EU is the biggest importer of Vietnamese shoes, and export volume of Vietnamese leather shoes to this market has dramatically dropped over the past two years due to the anti-dumping taxes.

It is expected that the local footwear industry will face even more impediments, because the EU will remove Vietnam's footwear off the European Union's Generalised System of Preferences list as of January 1st, next year.

These decisions of the EU, combined with global economic slowdown and shrinking consumption, would put greater pressure on the operation of Vietnamese enterprises, said Bien.

In this context, Bien recommended that Vietnamese shoe exporters should co-operate closely with the EC's investigation groups during the review period.

Furthermore, exporters should diversify their products and markets to limit the consequences on the companies' operation and lives of workers. The deputy minister affirmed his ministry and relevant agencies would support footwear makers during the review period.

As supporters of the footwear industry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association co-organised a seminar to introduce the laws of the EU relating to these issues.

Vietnam Leather & Footwear Association

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