The Mexican government has set out a package of measures to combat the undervaluation of imported footwear and help enhance the productivity and competitiveness of domestic footwear manufacturers.

Among the actions, Mexican authorities will suspend a programme of phased tariff reductions on footwear imports that would have dropped from 30% to 20% in 1 January 2015. This has now been postponed to 31 January 2019.

The announcement published on Friday (5 September) in the official gazette says the measures are necessary to prevent and combat undervaluation in the footwear import market, which "affects the performance of the domestic industry, leading to the loss of jobs, [and] a low level of investment and growth."

The decree authorises the Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, to implement regulatory measures and non-tariff restrictions on footwear imports by:

  • Gathering information to prevent, detect and punish practices of undervaluation, as well as identify the goods subject to these checks;
  • Reducing the number of customs stations authorised to deal with footwear imports from 33 down to 9;
  • Basing duty rates on government-set "estimated prices" rather than the actual declared price of a product; 
  • Providing a certified guarantee from a financial institution; 
  • Creating a footwear importer registration list; 
  • And a possible anti-dumping investigation into imports from China and Vietnam.  

The measures are due to take effect in September and October.

Mexico has been progressively opening up its market to imports, prompting the local industry to call on the government to quell a flood of shipments which trade leaders say could force the shutdown of hundreds of factories.

"We want anti-dumping measures and we want them now," said Ysmael Lopez Garcia, president of lobby group Ciceg (Camara de la Industria del Calzado), told just-style in April. "The government is currently analysing this and we hope will happen soon," he added.

The biggest threat is seen to come from China, which in 2013 accounted for half of the 85m pairs imported into Mexico against a mere 26m exported. Other major suppliers include Vietnam and Indonesia.  

However, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) fears the new regulations will essentially prevent companies from importing into Mexico altogether. 

Click on the following link to read more: Mexico's shoe makers blame their woes on China.