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Footwear trade continues anti-dumping duties fight

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and British Footwear Association (BFA) have vowed to continue lobbying the EU on its proposal to extend anti-dumping duties on Asian leather footwear after the passing of the deadline to lodge objections this week.

An “overwhelming” number of disgruntled footwear suppliers and retailers answered calls by both associations and Drapers’ Dump The Duties campaign to contact their local MEPs to outline the impact of the levies on their businesses and the consumer.

The anti-dumping duties impose a tax on imported leather footwear of 16.5% from China and 10% from Vietnam and have cost the industry and consumers ¤800m (£716.2m) since their introduction in 2006.

BRC director in Brussels Alisdair Gray said: “The European Commission has presented an unconvincing case for the proposed extension. We are confident that member states will throw it out”.

Gray added that the strong reaction by retailers and suppliers, compiled as part of the campaign, proved the levies were damaging to consumers and suppliers.

Richard Kottler, chief executive of the BFA - which is also backing Drapers’ Dump The Duties campaign - said the supplier association had seen an “overwhelming” response from its members.

“The counter-reports prepared by lobbying groups seem to our members to be very convincing and strengthen their resistance to the continuation of anti-dumping duties,” said Kottler.

The BRC Brussels office will continue to lobby undecided EU member states with the findings to provide them with “the full picture”, ahead of the crucial vote by member states on November 19, said Gray.

Kottler added that the BFA would continue to forward observations from members to the Government.

Anne Dean, managing director of footwear wholesaler Shubulu, said: “It’s time the UK Government started to support us. We are important too so give us a chance to make a decent living instead of continually tying one hand behind our backs. It’s time these duties were abolished and the silly games dispensed with.”

Catherine Owens, managing director of women’s footwear etailer Amber & Jade, said: “Anti-dumping duties are crippling my company and, if it continues, I’ll have to pass price increases on to my customers.”

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