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EFA condemns fallacious advertisement by footwear protectionists

22
Oct '09
Yesterday's advertisement placed in the Financial Times by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC), signed by its President, Vito Artoli calls on the EU to extend antidumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese leather footwear imports . It is misleading and also factually incorrect in a number of statements.

CEC cannot claim to speak on behalf of the industry since its own membership is divided on the issue. More industry members – including producers and importers – oppose the duties than support them.–

Claim: “This [European Commission] document sets out the technical reasons why it is proven that the practice of dumping is continuing and is damaging the European industry.”

Fact: The Commission has proved nothing. On the contrary, in a deeply flawed draft proposal that makes selective and self-serving use of evidence, the Commission still fails to show any injury to European footwear producers. And its comparisons of costs in China and Brazil are a parody of 21st century economics.

Claim: Other countries are imposing duties so there must be dumping.

Fact: The reference to Canada is factually wrong, since their investigation concluded that the imports of waterproof footwear caused no injury and would not threaten to cause injury to the domestic industry. Brazil and Argentina are two of the most protected economies in the world and currently have provisional duties in place while investigations are underway. They are not appropriate reference countries for the EU to follow on footwear trade matters.

Claim: The antidumping duties are of no concern to consumers since they only add €1.40 and €0.90 to the cost of a pair of shoes and this cost can be paid by the importers anyway.
Fact: European footwear companies have paid over €800m already in additional duties. For families hit by the financial crisis, every euro counts. BEUC, the European consumers' association, has written to the Financial Times in the following terms:
Dear Sir,

Yesterday in an advertisement the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry CEC asked to extend the anti-dumping duties on Chinese shoes arguing this would be in the interest of European consumers.

The European consumer organisation BEUC strongly opposes this view. Facing already tough economic times European consumers do not need an extension of the duties, artificially inflating consumer prices, but their removal. A decision to continue antidumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese shoes is anti-consumer, anti-trade and anti-competition.

Monique Goyens
Director General
BEUC

Claim: The duties will be good for consumers since without them Asian producers will dominate the market and wipe out competition.

Fact: This is entirely speculative and without any proven foundation or data. Chinese and Vietnamese imports don't compete with the luxury leather footwear exported by high-end producers in the EU, and trade barriers are not a driver for future competition.


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