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China denounces EU shoe duties as unfair

By Staff
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Beijing, Mar 24: China's state media denounced an EU decision to place anti-dumping duties on some Chinese-made shoes on Friday as manufacturers prepared to contest the move.

An editorial in the China Daily, the government's English-language mouthpiece, said the EU decision to impose duties of up to 19.4 percent on leather shoes would not save shoemakers in Europe but would rather hurt their Chinese counterparts.

''The unjust punitive measures against Chinese shoes ... will only compromise the EU's commitment to free and fair trade,'' it said.

The European Commission on Thursday formally approved the anti-dumping duties, which include duties of 16.8 percent on leather shoes from Vietnam.

Brussels says it has evidence of state support for exporters in China and Vietnam selling shoes at artificially low prices. It will phase in the duties over five months from April 7.

China and Vietnam have denied their shoe exports are being dumped in Europe and China has said it might consider a complaint to the World Trade Organisation, which regulates global trade.

The China Daily said the EU decision would not save manufacturers there from unstoppable market forces.

''The curb on China shoe imports will not sharpen EU shoemakers' competitive edge,'' it said. ''Painful but inevitable industrial restructuring would be the better option.'' The Chinese Ministry of Commerce, which deals with trade disputes, had no immediate comment on the EU announcement. But it has previously denounced the move, and Chinese manufacturers and business groups said they would fight it.

Chinese footwear manufacturers were planning a legal fund to contest the EU decision, the official Xinhua news agency said.

And the China Leather Industry Association reported on its Web site that targeted manufacturers were shifting to other materials and striking deals with other, unaffected firms to reduce losses from the threatened duties.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Thursday he wanted to work with China and Vietnam ''to address the questions of competitive distortions''.

Last year, Mandelson was at the centre of tortuous negotiations with China over EU limits on garment exports.

Reuters

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