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Footwear sector under threat

19
Nov '09
The European Footwear Alliance calls on EU Member States to reject the Commission's proposal to extend antidumping duties on footwear. The duties harm consumers, retailers and the modern footwear sector and any continuation would breach the 2006 agreement to end them after two years.

“The decision tomorrow on footwear duties will have a direct and immediate effect on European consumers and businesses,” said Manfred Junkert, Director of the Federation of the German Footwear Industry.

“Just as we begin to see a glimmer of economic recovery, the Commission is proposing to extend the dumping duties. It's unthinkable,” he said.

Representatives from the 27 EU Member States meet tomorrow to vote on whether or not to extend antidumping duties on leather footwear imports from China and Vietnam.

At a time of almost unprecedented economic turbulence and rising production costs, it would be folly to extend the duties, which have cost the EU footwear industry €800mn since 2006. Based on the European Commission's own figures, the 15-month extension would end up costing European consumers and businesses in excess of €1bn to the benefit of no one: Imports from China and Vietnam have been replaced by imports from other third countries.

Instead of investing our resources in growing our businesses and avoiding lay-offs, European producers, importers and retailers are being forced to allocate precious funds to pay what amounts to an unwarranted protectionist tax on European consumers and businesses.

The future of the European footwear sector is at stake and EFA calls on member states to vote against any extension of the current duties. Failure to abolish the duties will undermine the competitiveness of the European footwear sector in Europe and abroad, at a time when emerging countries are becoming increasingly prosperous and consumer demand is on the rise.

European Footwear Alliance


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