Footwear imports to Czech Republic up 25%5 March 2007
Footwear imports to the Czech Republic rose by a quarter in 2006 with some 97 million pairs of shoes imported with a value of CZK 8.5 billion, compared to 73 million pairs in 2005, according to Vlasta Mayerova, chair of the Czech Shoe-makers' Association._She stated that most of the growth can be ascribed to imports from China. Czech companies have been complaining about the imports of Chinese footwear for several years. However, Czech manufacturers produced 5 million pairs in 2006, unchanged from 2005. _ The Czech footwear industry has been quite stable in the last few years according to Mayerova who stated that some 30 larger companies were in operation in the country, employing 4,000 people._ Czech companies export some 80% of their production, equivalent to 4 million pairs of shoes. _However, some sources report exports of as many as 30 million pairs. The majority of these are imports from China, with the Czech Republic being a transit country for them. EU restrictions on Chinese and Vietnamese importers did not help. There is a higher customs duty on leather shoes, but most of the imported shoes are made from other materials. _The price of Chinese shoes is much lower than that of European producers. The association expects imports to the Czech Republic to grow further this year and the number of the imported shoes to top 100 million pairs.