Anti-dumping duties on leather footwear imported from China and Vietnam are to be scrapped, potentially freeing UK retailers to reduce prices and increase margins.
The duties, of 16.5% and 10% on leather footwear from China and Vietnam respectively, will be phased out in March despite heavy lobbying to extend the terms by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) - the trade body which represents European footwear manufacturers.
The move will bring welcome relief to footwear retailers, which are otherwise facing a perfect storm of pressures ranging from the January rise in VAT prices to the spiralling costs of freight, production and raw materials.
The anti-dumping duties were originally imposed in 2006 to prevent cheap Chinese and Vietnamese footwear imports flooding the European market and putting local producers out of business. They were introduced with a promise that they would last just two years. However they were extended twice, most recently for 15 months from January 2010.
EU ministers have voted not to extend the duties but have handed the CEC “an explicit guarantee” that it would hold quarterly meetings with Chinese and Vietnamese authorities to monitor imports on a daily basis to make sure there are no unfair trading practices.
It has also assured the CEC that it would hold quarterly bilateral meetings with both the Chinese and Vietnamese authorities.
In 2009, Drapers ran a campaign calling for the duties to be scrapped, backed by the British Retail Consortium and the British Footwear Association. For more details on footwear anti-dumping duties and the campaign click here.