EU launch China and Vietnam duty review

3 October 2008

The European Commission has decided to launch a review of the EU anti-dumping duties on leather shoes from China and Vietnam, extending their operation while this study is undertaken.

This will upset many exporters and importers, as well as 15 of the 27 EU member states who opposed the review. They wanted the duties to lapse this week, which is when their authorisation was to expire. But a statement issued by the Commission's trade directorate general said that its hands were tied, and Brussels' ruling ‘College of Commissioners' had to authorise the review. It explained: ‘The legal conditions for opening the review are clearly met, according to the basic [EU] antidumping regulation. The Commission has an obligation to open a review.' Under anti-dumping procedures such a review has to be launched if strong evidence is presented claiming dumping would continue without such protective tariffs. Such a dossier had been submitted by the Italian shoemakers industry. EU member states lacked the power to block the review but because of their opposition and the ‘the strong interest raised by this issue', DG trade said its officials would ‘work to complete the investigation as expeditiously as possible - if possible in shorter than the usual timeframe of 12-15 months.' Commission trade spokesman Peter Power said the Commission was also considering an exceptional refund of the tariffs should the review conclude dumping had ceased to exist. ‘It's something we would like to explore', he said. Normally such refunds are not allowed - but it would be considered ‘on an ad hoc basis'.

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