Italian and Spanish footwear manufacturers are preparing to fight for continued European protection against the import of cheap shoes from the Far East.
Anti-dumping measures have been in place since 2006 to protect the European Union’s footwear manufacturers from import surges. A decision to maintain tariffs, amounting to 16.5% on Chinese footwear and 10% on shoes from Vietnam and strongly opposed by UK retailers, would be likely to worsen East-West trade relations.
The case is being looked at by the European Commission, which must make a decision by October 22 to extend tariffs - which currently cover merchandise from China and Vietnam - or they will be lifted in January.
The row is likely to meet opposition from big retailers and manufacturers, such as Nike and Adidas, many of which source products from China and Vietnam.
The European tariffs were imposed against Asian footwear in response to an increase in imports from the Far East and signs of distress from footwear manufacturers in Italy, France, Spain and Poland.
The ANCI, Italy’s footwear industry asscociation, has launched a “made in Italy” campaign and Italian manufacturers want compulsory labelling of country of origin on clothing and footwear.
A spokesman for the Commission said yesterday that a final decision on whether to extend the tariffs remained to be taken.