China hits back after EU extends shoe taxes

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing said Wednesday it would impose penalties on metal fasteners such as bolts and nails imported from the European Union, in apparent retaliation to the EU's extension of taxes on Chinese shoes.

The preliminary ruling will require importers of carbon steel fasteners from the 27 EU nations to pay a deposit from Monday, the commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

"(The ministry) finds that the European Union dumped carbon steel fasteners in China and China's domestic carbon steel fastener industry suffered material damages," the ministry said.

Importers will have to pay a deposit based on the difference -- up to 24.6 percent -- between the normal value of the fasteners and the cut price, the ministry said.

Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in another market at less than normal value.

The anti-dumping measures were imposed after the EU decided Tuesday to extend punitive taxes on imports of Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes -- first introduced more than three years ago -- by a further 15 months.

The measures, designed to protect European leather manufacturers from below-cost Asian competition, carry import duties of 16.5 percent levied on Chinese shoes with leather uppers and 10 percent on shoes from Vietnam.

Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said Beijing was "strongly dissatisfied" with the decision and will launch a complaint at the World Trade Organisation, in a statement posted on the ministry's website Tuesday.

"The Chinese government ... will appeal to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and take measures accordingly to seriously protect the legitimate interests of the Chinese industry," Yao said.

European products "do not compete directly with Chinese products and it is meaningless to continue to impose anti-dumping measures against China," Yao said.

Bigger manufacturers that make their shoes in Asia such as Diesel, Adidas and Puma, fought against the renewal of the shoe tariffs.

In a statement, the European Footwear Alliance, which speaks for brands including Diesel, ECCO, Levi?s, Timberland, Rockport and Hush Puppies, said the decision "lays to rest any lingering notion that the European Union still intends to fight protectionism."

It said the EU's "opaque trade policy will result in payment of anti-dumping duties well in excess of one billion euros (1.43 billion dollars) for European footwear businesses, which will ultimately be paid for by EU consumers."

Figures from the European Commission show that Chinese and Vietnamese shoes make up 30 percent of the EU footwear market.