Small and medium-sized footwear companies across the European Union are calling on EU Member States to take immediate action to save the European footwear sector.
On 19 November, EU Member State representatives will meet to take a crucial vote on whether or not to extend footwear anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese imports of leather footwear to the EU. Europe's SMEs have borne the brunt of the footwear duties for the past three-and-a-half years. For purely political reasons, and despite an understanding that the measures would be terminated in 2008, the European Commission chose not to honour its commitment.We are deeply concerned that the Commission's lack of resolve could lead to the disappearance of hundreds of European footwear SMEs.
“Extending the footwear duties spells certain disaster for hundreds of small footwear producers in Europe. The economic crisis has pushed us to the limit. A continuation of the duties could push us over the edge,” said Manfred Junkert, Director of the Federation of the German Footwear Industry.
European footwear producers have calculated that an extension of footwear anti-dumping duties would cost EU businesses and consumers well in excess of 1 billion euros. SMEs in the European footwear industry now need a clear vote of support from member states by rejecting any continuation of these duties and a clear signal from the EU that it's firmly committed to their future success and prosperity. SMEs are a key driver of growth in the European economy. As such, they make a major contribution to the dynamism and competitiveness of the European footwear sector.
The EOG, founded in 2003, regroups over 48 leading outdoor companies. Its members account for over 90% of outdoor hiking and trekking sales in Europe. The combined strength of member brands, and a close cooperation with national outdoor associations, provides the EOG with an extremely powerful force to represent the European outdoor industry in a constructive and positive manner. EOG members include Lafuma, The North Face and Salomon.