According to the People’s Daily, Beijing, half a million Vietnamese footwear workers face redundancy as a result of the EU anti dumping legislation. It said that nearly 500,000 employees in industry are likely to lose jobs of which 80% are women.

The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) said that up to 16.8% could be levied on Vietnamese shoes with leather uppers. The provisional duty will be phased in over a period of six months, commencing with around 4% on April 7.

Lefaso said that some foreign-invested enterprises are already showing signs of moving their footwear factories out of Vietnam because they fear the effect on their products’ competitiveness.

Vietnam exported 265 million pairs of shoes to the European Union last year. Some 80 million pairs will be affected by new tariffs, according to a recent press release by the EC to Vietnam.

Vietnam earned US$582 million from supplying footwear to the world market in the first two months of this year. This was up 30.9% against the same period last year. They expect to earn $3.3 billion in 2006, up from over $3 billion in 2005. Main markets include the EU, the US and Japan.

Lefaso is encouraging footwear firms in Vietnam to penetrate more deeply into Japan, the US, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.