Chinese minister to visit Europe

16 October 2006

China's Vice Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, is visiting Europe for high-level negotiations with the EU on the controversial anti-dumping duty on Chinese shoes. The European Commission plans to impose a 23% duty on Chinese leather shoes beyond a suggested limit of 140 million pairs. The EU proposal will be decided by member countries prior to October 6 and would come into effect on April 1 next year if it is approved. Under the current anti-dumping duties imposed several months ago, Chinese shoes will be charged a 19.4% duty from September. Chinese shoemakers have been highly critical of the new EU proposal. They say the proposal violates the EU's own anti-dumping rules and contravenes conventions of the WTO, which China joined in 2001. The EU proposal will allow just one Chinese shoe company, Jin Lv Shoes, to import with a lower duty of 9.7%, while 140 other Chinese shoemakers will be charged the much higher duty. Following the imposition of anti-dumping duties, exports of shoes from the province of Guangdong, China's top shoe-making province, dropped from more than ten million pairs in January to just over five million in April, according to the provincial customs office. Despite this, Chinese customs authorities announced that footwear exports increased considerably between January and April this year, by 20.4% reaching close to US$6.64 billion.

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