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The European Union (EU) plans to terminate its four-year-long anti-dumping duties on leather shoes imported from China as of April 1. The move will present an opportunity for Chinese shoe manufacturers to expand business in the European markets, according to ChinaDaily.com.

The report said the decision was made after the European Confederation of Footwear Industries, Europe’s largest shoemakers association, withdrew its petition for an extension of tariffs.

The European Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation bloc, will monitor imports of Chinese-made footwear with leather uppers in a bid to protect producers within the EU, most of whom are small or medium-sized.

“Chinese shoe manufacturers will resume their exports to the European markets when the unreasonable tariffs are removed,” Mei Xinyu, a researcher on international trade affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce, told China Daily.

Mei said European manufacturers should develop their business to improve their competitiveness instead of pinning their hopes on “trade protectionism”.

The EU began to levy anti-dumping duties ranging from 9.7% to 16.5% on Chinese shoes with leather uppers in 2006 and extended the tariff by a further 15 months in 2009.

China lodged a complaint against the EU decision with the World Trade Organization last year.

At present, total shoe export volumes account for 25% of the total Chinese output annually and most leather shoes are priced at around $10 overseas.

According to a report in the Southern Metropolis Daily, about 20,000 people in the shoemaking industry lost their jobs because of the levy during the 2006-2008 period.

Zhejiang Aokang Shoes Co, one of China’s largest shoe manufacturers, registered annual growth of about 20% in its exports to the European market before the imposition of the levy. Exports dropped by about 10% after the imposition, according to the report.

— Source: ChinaDaily.com

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