Blog: Leonie BarrieEU shoe shuffle

Leonie Barrie | 30 August 2006

I’m wondering if I have, in fact, been away at all. Earlier this month, 14 EU countries registered an intention to vote against plans to add import taxes to shoes from China and Vietnam. The measures, which would add 16.5% to the import price of shoes from China and 10% to those from Vietnam were also strongly attacked by retailers.

Yet today I’m getting a strong sense of déjà vu over news that the European Commission has tabled the same plans again, and seems unable to accept that a majority of EU countries have already indicated they oppose these measures. How clear does the message that most EU countries do not want shoe import duties have to be before the EC will accept it?

The tightening decision-making timetable is also taking away much of the certainty that business planning depends on. As the issue drags on and on, shoe importers and retailers look set to be left with only a matter of weeks to absorb and adapt to any new rules and costs. As we saw last year with the EC’s ‘bra wars’ fiasco, retailers and importers will be reluctant to sign contracts and place forward orders until they are clear as to how much duty they will have to pay.

EC attempts to impose shoe taxes


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