Nine Chinese leather shoe producers have been chosen by the European Union (EU) for a sample survey for an anti-dumping charge, according to the China Leather Association.
"The EU decision was made earlier this month," said Su Chaoying, a senior official with the association. "But it is only a preliminary one."
He said the association and the chamber of commerce are consulting with enterprises preparing to give feedback to the EU.
The sampling includes five companies in Guangdong Province, two in Fujian Province, one in Zhejiang Province and one in Liaoning Province. All these companies are major footwear vendors, both at home and abroad.
A source close to the commerce ministry said that the chamber of commerce of this sector was expected to suggest the EU consider the allocation of the enterprises as well as the categories of products. They hope that more companies will be chosen.
The EU is expected to publish the final sampling results this week.
According to its procedures, EU officials may conduct September surveys on the chosen Chinese shoe producers, and decide whether to grant the economic treatment to Chinese firms that responded to the charge.
The case against Chinese leather shoes, which involves a value of US$730 million, is the largest anti-dumping charge encountered in the past decade.
So far, over 110 leather shoe producers have responded to the EU charge, Su said. The chamber of commerce will appeal to the EU for non-material injury to the industry.
The leather shoe anti-dumping charge is only one of the recent three EU initiated against China-made footwear, followed by the fabric shoe and the labour shoe cases.
As for other cases of the labour shoe anti-dumping, five companies have been chosen for the sampling.
As Europe is the second largest export market of Chinese footwear, the EU's rulings will be vital to Chinese companies.
The European economic bloc recently allowed Chinese sweaters which had reached the EU border but were shut out of the market to enter the market using next year's quotas.
By July, the country's sweater exporters had used up all quotas given for this year.
China's exports of sweaters, together with another nine categories, are under EU curbs restricting their annual growth rates to 8 to 12.5 per cent.
The EU was caught in an intense conflict with China over the textile issue as domestic textile and the garment industry intended to curb Chinese textile products.
The two sides reached a last minute agreement over this issue on June 11 in Shanghai, after more than 10 hours of negotiations between top commerce officials from both sides.
However, Chinese textile and garment exporters are suffering more in the US market.
In a couple of days, they will use up the quotas for men's tatting shirts as well as for another five categories, including cotton trousers, cotton shirts and underwear.
Among the seven categories under restrictions, only quotas for cotton yarn are enough for the whole year.
China failed to reach an agreement similar to that between China and the EU with the United States through rounds of talks.
The US Government continues efforts to restrict Chinese textiles.
US Senator Chuck Hagel was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the United States should avoid the "colossal mistake" of provoking trade and economic disputes with China, and instead seek a co-operative relationship.
(China Daily August 11, 2005)