Members of the European Union are being urged to formally oppose anti-dumping duties now being considered by the European Commission (EC) for European imports of footwear from China, Vietnam and India.


The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) wants other countries to join the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark which have already expressed their objections to the plans.


AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke warned that imposition of such duties would have a devastating impact on European consumers, who would see prices skyrocket and supplies of their favourite footwear products dwindle. 


"By taking such action," said Burke, "members of the EC would be causing their own countries economic harm, completely the opposite of their intentions. The economic realities are not going to change. These products will continue to be sourced in Asia and elsewhere, not Europe."


In addition, Burke said, such duties would also have a "devastating impact on the hundreds of thousands of workers footwear companies employ in Europe."


Burke continued: "I hope other countries join [the Dutch, Danes and Swedes] in standing up to protect the interests of their consumers and the hundreds of thousands of European workers who depend on the free flow of footwear."


The EU announced in July it would conduct anti-dumping investigations on shoes with leather uppers from China and Vietnam and is expected to announce its decision regarding anti-dumping duties by early next year. 


That action would affect virtually every major footwear brand as well as household names in casual and dress shoes. The decision would also affect safety toe shoes from China and India.


Representatives of AAFA and major US-based footwear companies have been working to convince officials of the Commission in Brussels and in the capitals of all 25 European member states that such duties would be counterproductive and harmful to consumers.


They also participated in a meeting in Washington on 7 December, during which they expressed their concern to embassy representatives of several European states.


If the Commission recommends dumping duties on footwear imported from China, Vietnam and India and if those recommendations are approved by the European Union's 25 member states, footwear companies could face dumping duties as high as 40-120% on the footwear they are selling into Europe by early next year.