INSIGHT: EU stalls on footwear duty relief
It is difficult to know who will be most affected by the EU's move to continue anti-dumping tariffs on footwear from China and Vietnam for another 15 months.
Neither footwear producers in the two countries nor brands in Europe will see the move as particularly good for business.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has campaigned against the tariffs since before they were first introduced in 2006.
"They typically add GBP1.60 to the dockside cost of a pair of imported shoes. That means UK customers are paying GBP330m a year more than they should have to for these shoes," it said last month.
Most footwear businesses in Europe would have preferred that the duties - 16.5% for Chinese footwear and 10% for Vietnamese - to have been lifted altogether.
Perhaps manufacturers closer to home won't lose as much sleep about, for instance, whether the duties are harmful to EU relations with China though. In this way, the EU thinks the duties maintain a level playing field for other manufacturing countries.
However, three years after they were first imposed, the union still seems unclear about whether the duties are a good idea or not, saying on one hand they will remain but on the other may well be scrapped in just over a year's time anyway.
The European Commission said in a communiqué: "The removal of measures at this stage would lead to increased dumping and injury—and potentially halt the adjustment process of an industry which employs over 260,000 workers in the EU."
With much opposition to the extension, accused of being protectionist, it seems the EU may have to re-adjust its adjustment process to keep a number of disgruntled member states, including the UK, at bay.
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