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EU's Mandelson says to proceed with shoe duty plan

Written by: Staff
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BRUSSELS, Mar 16 (Reuters) EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Thursday he would proceed with his plan to impose anti-dumping duties on leather shoes made in China and Vietnam after EU countries showed they were split on the issue.

''In today's meeting (of an EU anti-dumping committee) member states expressed a wide range of views, both in favour of stronger provisional measures and in favour of more restricted action,'' Mandelson's office said in a statement.

''The Commissioner's proposals represented a middle ground and there was no majority against his balanced approach,'' the statement said.

Mandelson has proposed provisional duties of 16.8 per cent on Vietnam and 19.4 per cent on China to be phased in over five months, beginning at about 4 per cent in April.

The recommendation has generated protests from China, Vietnam and leading shoe companies that produce in Asia although children's and sports shoes will be excluded from the duties.

Italy, which has a large shoe industry of its own, has pushed for tougher measures. But Scandinavian countries, traditionally the EU's biggest supporters of free trade, have rejected the need for anti-dumping duties at all.

Mandelson is due to recommend to a meeting of the full European Commission on March 22 that the provisional duties be introduced.

Any definitive duties have to be applied from October.

Provisional duties do not require formal approval by EU member states but definitive ones do.

''The Commission will continue its investigation and will establish a consensus among member states on a definitive course of action when the investigation is concluded in the autumn,'' the statement said.

REUTERS SD PM1947

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