The European Commission is proposing to extend anti-dumping duties on leather footwear imported from China and Vietnam for a further 15 months.
To date, the duties, which came into force three years ago, have cost members of the European Footwear Association [EFA], which include Clarks, Hush Puppies and Ecco, upwards of €800m (£744.2m). The average wholesale price of a pair of shoes has also risen by €1.50 (£1.40).
These are massive cost implications for a sector already under pressure. The UK has recently witnessed the collapse of footwear specialists such as Stylo, Faith, Stead & Simpson and Shoe Studio Group. The result was thousands of job losses in retail, and who knows how many more further down the supply chain.
That the EC would even consider extending duties is crazy. The Italian and Spanish footwear manufacturing industries, who lobbied for the duties to be introduced, specialise in higher-priced small-run production and, duties or no duties, we certainly aren’t going to see a Made in Italy leather shoe in Tesco any time soon, especially as sterling is at a seven-month low against the euro. Sterling’s weakness against the dollar and rising freight costs are also exacerbating the impact on Far Eastern imports.
This week, Drapers has launched a Dump the Duties campaign. We intend to submit a dossier of evidence about the real effect on UK footwear firms to the EC ahead of the November vote.
Please add your voice and protect your shoppers from price rises on our Dump the Duties Campaign page.