With only 20 days left before a crucial vote by EU member states on whether to extend anti-dumping duties on Asian footwear, Drapers and trade associations the British Retail Consortium and British Footwear Association are calling on suppliers, brands and retailers to lodge their objections to the levies with their local MEPs.
The footwear industry has been incensed by the EU’s decision to propose the extension of the duties - which increase costs for the industry and push up prices for the customer - for another 15 months.
On average, a pair of shoes from China costs retailers around £9 and incurs a 16.5% tariff, while a pair fromVietnam costs about £10 with a 10% duty.
Customers are paying around £330m a year extra for leather shoes sourced from China and Vietnam.
The British Retail Consortium, which is backing Drapers’ Dump The Duties campaign - which is also supported by the BFA - are urging retailers, brands and suppliers to write to the MEPs and lodge their objections to the proposed extension.
It is hoped this will put pressure on EU Trade Commissioner Baroness Ashton to scrap this stealth tax on customers and retailers.
The EU is due to vote on whether to extend the duties by November 10, but your local MEPs need to hear the impact of the duties on your business by November 3.
What you can do: Write to your local MEPs now
The person ultimately responsible for taking the decision on whether to extend the duties is the EU Trade Commissioner, Baroness Catherine Ashton.
The people who can influence the Commissioner are your local MEPs many of whom are specialists in trade matters.
The British Retail Consortium and the British Footwear Association can help you contact your local MEP so do not hesitate to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for further information.
Alternatively you can locate your local MEP by punching in your postcode at www.writetothem.com
Below is an example of the type of letter you should write to your local MEP in support of the Dump The Duties campaign. You will also find it to cut out in this week’s Drapers magazine which will be published on October 24.
Please note that our campaign will have more impact if you can work the below into your own words and add in your own experiences and very real examples of how the duties have impacted your business.
I am very concerned about the prospect of another 15 months of European antidumping duties being imposed on imports of leather footwear from China and Vietnam.
As an importer / retailer / footwear producer / the cost of these duties to my business amounts to ______ and in this economic climate will have a serious impact on our ability to invest in our products and people. I am already struggling to survive as consumers are simply not buying these days. Why is the EU further penalising me at this time? If the duties are extended I may well have to shed staff or cut back in future investment.
As my elected representative I would urge you to call on the EU Trade Commissioner to scrap these plans and help hard pressed business all over the UK.