Italy backs push for EU dumping duty on furniture
BRUSSELS, April 6 (Reuters) Italy on Thursday backed furniture makers seeking anti-dumping duties on imports from rivals in Asia, a day before the European Union starts levying punitive tariffs on Chinese and Vietnamese shoes.
''Trade associations in Italy and Europe are gathering data on unfair competition carried out above all by Asian countries which will be ready by the end of the month,'' Italy's minister for trade, Adolfo Urso, said.
The Italian government, facing a general election on April 9-10, pushed hard for the anti-dumping duties due to be applied on leather shoes from China and Vietnam from Friday.
As well as shoes, Italy also has a big furniture industry.
Urso said Italy was ''also in the front line'' of the battle for Europe's furniture market and urged the EU's executive Commission ''to confront China across the board'' over unfair competition or risk an ''uncontrollable protectionist spiral''.
The issue of competition from Asia has featured prominently in campaigning for Italy's election, which Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi risks losing.
China has protested over the shoe duties of nearly 20 percent on its exports, denying it has been dumping footwear in the 25-nation EU and blaming instead EU nations for falling behind in global competitiveness.
REUTERS MP BD2045