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EU Denial of Market Status 'Unfair'
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It was unfair that EU member countries had denied the market economy status to Chinese footwear manufacturers, yet its impact upon the sector was limited, said Wei Yafei with the Footwear Division of the China Leather Industry Association Tuesday.

The European Commission refused to grant 13 Chinese shoe companies the market economy status last week, saying the evidence from the Chinese companies was inadequate and failed to prove these companies operate under market economy conditions.

However, Wei Yafei said all 13 companies meet the five market economy status standards.

Mr. Zhang Zhen'an with Shanghai-based H&Y Law Firm said in an earlier report the EU's decision was "unjustified".

The international definition of market economy status could be so specific when it became the law of a region or country that even EU companies were hardly up to the standard, he said.

The decision has pushed the EU closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on shoe imports from China, as the denial of market economy status will make it easier to prove dumping by citing a third country's comparable cost.

Wei said the higher duties on China shoe exports would not help the production or sale of European shoe manufacturers. The recession reported in some EU countries like Spain and Italy was an outcome of world market restructuring, she said.

The anti-dumping duties, if levied, would not only affect Chinese manufacturers, but would run counter to the interests of European importers and would force European consumers to pay more, she continued.

On the other hand, she anticipated a limited impact upon China's shoe making sector, as EU exports account for only 13 percent of China's total shoe exports, and more effort would be made by the government and the sector to solve the issue before the EU winds up the probe.

In the meantime, Wei called on Chinese shoe manufacturers to play down price-based competition, and explore more export markets, while upgrading production technology.

(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2006)

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