The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry remains deeply concerned at the impact of proposed antidumping measures on Chinese and Vietnamese leather footwear, although it welcomes the proposal to exclude special technology athletic footwear (STAF) and children's shoes.

“It is misleading to say that the impact of the measures on consumer prices will be limited. Under anti-dumping rules, footwear brands and the retail sector are forced to reflect the cost of the duties in their sales prices. There is no doubt that consumer prices will rise by up to 20% if antidumping duties of such magnitude as proposed by the European Commission are imposed,” FESI President Horst Widmann said.

As to the allegedly compelling evidence of dumping found by the Commission, most FESI suppliers do not receive state subsidies in any form. Even if the Commission had found evidence of state subsidies, this is not dumping because the types of subsidies reportedly found equally affect the domestic and the export sales prices and FESI's suppliers did not sell below cost. This puts the EU measures, if adopted, at serious risk of a legal challenge at the WTO.

“The exclusion of STAF is a reflection of economic reality. Special Technology Athletic Footwear is a well-established category which has been excluded without a price threshold from trade defence measures including quotas for over a decade, and imports under this category have not significantly increased,” Widmann said.

The proposed duties would not ease the alleged difficulties of the Southern European shoe industry – which is complaining about imports of cheap shoes – but give an unfair advantage to European-manufactured shoes over high-end imports from China and Vietnam. A percentage duty across the board would mean that the higher the value of the shoe, the greater the duty paid.

“A minimum import price would be a far more appropriate solution. Applying a minimum import price instead of a percentage duty is often done in the EU, most recently in the Norwegian Salmon case, and would ensure a fairer impact of the measures”, Widmann added.