Blog: Trade takes a turn
Leonie Barrie | 22 September 2008
Trade stories dominated the news last week, with the heat turning up on long-running issues such as whether or not the European Commission will extend anti-dumping duties on leather footwear imported from China and Vietnam, and what will happen when safeguards on shipments of Chinese apparel to the US expire at the end of this year.
In what turned out to be a surprise move on the footwear front, 15 of the 27 European Union countries voted against an extension of anti-dumping duties. This is not necessarily the end of the matter, since the majority vote by the member states is not binding. Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson can still decide to launch a formal 'expiry review' – which would mean the import taxes remain in place.
But retailers are now urging the EC to accept that any plans for import taxes on shoes from the two Asian countries are dead and buried. Uncertainties over the duties are also making it difficult for retailers and importers to plan ahead and source footwear from China and Vietnam.
Over in the US, meanwhile, trade groups from 17 countries came out to call for a system to monitor textile and apparel imports from China once safeguards on its shipments to the US expire at the end of this year.
The groups want to replicate the Textile Monitoring Program (TMP) currently in place on textile and clothing imports from Vietnam. Under this, the US government reviews import data on a monthly basis in selected categories and, if evidence is found that they are being sold at an unfairly low price, will self-initiate a dumping investigation.
With trade between China and the EU and US under such scrutiny, just-style asks whether China is, in fact, keen to propagate an aura of gloom. Stories abound of its rising inflation, factories going out of business, and worker shortages – all of which help undermine the protectionist debate – yet its share of world clothing production continues to grow.
There are also conflicting viewpoints from Chinese garment makers themselves. Some say business is slackening as European demand slows, while others are seeing continued strong demand from Europe, despite the economic downturn and strong Chinese currency.
Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...
The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...
The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...
The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the world's seventh-largest container shipper, at the end of August, has left billions of dollars worth of merchandise in limbo, leaving the fal...
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