EU to impose duty on Chinese shoes

Brussels, February 20:

Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, is heading for a new row with Beijing over surging Chinese exports to Europe after reluctantly agreeing to impose anti-dumping duties on tens of millions of cheap leather shoes, it emerged yesterday.

A nine-month long investigation by EU trade officials has found ‘clear-cut’ evidence that Chinese — and Vietna-mese — firms have been dumping sh-oes with leather uppers in Europe at below the cost of production since all quotas were lifted on January 1.

Mandelson, who was entangled in a row over textile imports with China last summer when tens of millions of clothing items were blocked at EU ports, has come under pressure from European shoe producers in Italy, France and the Czech Republic to impose duties.

A similar coalition forced him to declare temporary quotas on Chinese clothing last year. But in an effort to avoid a repeat of that battle, he is understood to have rejected demands for duties of up to 50 per cent and will recommend to the EC and the 25 EU states.