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EU adopts anti-dumping measures against China

EU adopts anti-dumping measures against China

The European Union yesterday adopted, by the narrowest of majorities, new anti-dumping measures to tackle imports of leather shoes from China and Vietnam, a diplomatic source said.
The vote to adopt the measures for two years resulted in a 13 to 12 majority in the 25-nation bloc, the source said.
The vote will allow the new anti-dumping measures to come into force on October 7, with import duties of 16.5 percent on Chinese shoes with leather uppers, in place of the current temporary duty of 19.4 percent.
The tariff on the same kind of shoes from Vietnam will be 10 percent in place of the current temporary duty of 16.8 percent.
The move had become urgent as the temporary tariffs, applied in April as an anti-dumping measure, run out at midnight on Thursday.
"It's a huge disappointment for all proponents of free trade," said Alisdair Gray, director of the British Retail Consortium in Brussels, which represents companies including C&J Clark Ltd. and Timberland Co. "This won't save a single job in Europe, nor will it stop manufacturing jobs shifting to China."
The main vote faultline runs between Europe's economically liberal north, hostile in principle to anti-dumping measures, and the more protectionist south, sympathetic to the views of EU producers.
The Commission had proposed a five-year penalty, but the compromise on the measure's duration, proposed by France, allowed the vote to go through.
In the vote, taken during a meeting in Brussels of the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the 25 EU nations, nine countries voted in favor of the two-year measures and 12 maintained their opposition.
The remaining four countries abstained in yesterday's vote but their votes counted for the proposal as they did not oppose it.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson accepted the compromise, his spokesman Peter Power told AFP.
The measures are now set to become official by being adopted at a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday.
"If the EU's Finnish presidency, which was has been hostile to anti-dumping measures, had played its role better, the compromise could have been reached much earlier," said an EU source.
Vietnam is "not going to accept this decision," said Tran Anh Son, deputy director general of the Ministry of Trade's Competition Administration Department. "We shouldn't have to pay any anti-dumping duties at all because we are not dumping into the EU market," he said by telephone from Hanoi.
Vietnam will await the EU's official announcement about the duties and then may send a letter objecting to the decision, Son said. The Vietnamese government has no recourse at the WTO as it's not yet a member of the organization.
The decision was bound to raise the hackles of EU distributors who have denounced the sort of protectionism displayed by Italy, whose shoe industry has not well adapted to the new world market. Brussels stressed that the tariffs will only apply to shoes with leather uppers which account for around one in ten pairs sold in the European Union.
Last year China exported 1.2 billion pairs of shoes to EU countries, 145 million of which were hit by the provisional anti-dumping measures. For Vietnam the total EU import figure was 265 million pairs, 80 million of which were affected.
After a 15-month investigation, the commission found that shoemakers in China and Vietnam unfairly benefited from state aid in the form of soft loans, tax breaks and cheap rents.
As Chinese and Vietnamese imports swelled, European footwear production fell by nearly a third in the last five years, costing 40,000 jobs, the Commission said.