The European Union is today expected to propose protective duties on imports of shoes from China and Vietnam after finding evidence the Asian nations are unfairly dumping footwear on European markets.
European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is likely to put forward tariffs of up to 20% on shoe imports that could kick in from April if approved by EU governments.
Protective measures are demanded by European shoe manufacturers, but opposed by retailers and importers who warn they will push up prices in the shops.
EU officials in Brussels said the bloc would seek urgent talks with China and Vietnam to resolve the footwear dispute, which comes after a major trade tussle - last year’s “bra wars” – over cheap Chinese clothing imports into the EU.
The EU this week said its imports of leather shoes from China soared 320% in the 12 months up to March 2005 to 950 million pairs. Vietnamese imports grew 700% to 120 million over the same period, the EU said.