The European Commission will adopt provisional anti-dumping measures on Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes on Thursday, the European Union's (EU's) executive arm said Wednesday.
The commission said it would give EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, a mandate on Wednesday to adopt the measures on its behalf on Thursday. The regulations will come into effect on April 7. China and Vietnam are strongly opposed to the action and urged the EU to reconsider.
The punitive measures, which were scheduled to be endorsed by the commission on Wednesday, were delayed by one day due to a hold up in producing translations of the regulation in all the required languages, the commission explained.
The delay does not affect the content of the regulation in any way nor does it change the date on which the measures will come into effect which remains April 7 of this year, added the commission.
According to Mandelson's proposal which was unveiled last month the anti-dumping measures are to be phased in over six months starting at 4 percent and rising to 19.4 percent for Chinese shoes and 16.8 percent for Vietnamese footwear.
Children's shoes and high-tech sports footwear will be excluded from the tariffs.
The EU claim the trade penalties are necessary to curb the inflow of cheap imports from the two countries. Mandelson said the leather shoes were being sold in the EU at below-cost prices and violating world trade rules.
China dismissed the allegations as "groundless" and said the proposed sanctions were unfair. It urged the EU last week to reconsider the move.
The EU said imports of leather shoes from China soared by 1,000 percent from 2001 to 2005 to 1.25 billion pairs. This accounted for half of the EU's shoe market. Vietnamese imports grew 95 percent between 2001-2005 it said.
But as with the 'bra wars' this latest trade row has threatened to split the opinions of EU member countries. Some northern European states have opposed the measures with the Swedish government attacking the policy as being "protectionist".
The EU will review the tariffs at the end of the six-month provisional period and decide whether or not to keep the duties for the next five years.
(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2006)