Expiry of antidumping duties no gain for Vietnam's footwear in EU

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Vietnam's footwear exports to Europe have fallen sharply in recent months even though EU's antidumping duties on shoe imports from the country expired April 1.

Shipments of leather shoes from Vietnam dropped 22.81 percent in terms of value in the first quarter of 2011.

But after the antidumping tarriffs on Chinese and Vietnamese shoes were lifted, footwear exports to the EU from Vietnam continued to fall further, down 61 percent in April and May compared to the same period last year, news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online reported, citing Eurostat, the EU's statistics office.

China, on the other hand, benefited from the tax removal, with footwear exports increasing 4 percent in terms of value in April-May.

Eurostat also pointed out that between 2001 and 2010, the market share of Vietnamese leather shoes in the EU shrank to 17 percent from nearly 30 percent. Meanwhile, Chinese shoes expanded from a market share of 15 percent to 26 percent over the same period.

The EU had been applying the taxes on Vietnamese and Chinese footwear since October 2006 alleging they were being sold at below production costs. The tarriffs were extended for 15 months in December 2009, and then expired on April 1.

Diep Thanh Kiet, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association, said local shoe makers had boosted exports to other markets to ease the impacts of the antidumping duties. As a result, the EU now accounts for half of Vietnamese footwear shipments, down from 65 percent previously, he said.

The removal of the tarriffs would allow Vietnamese firms to export more products to European markets again, but now they have to face stiffer competition from Chinese exporters, Kiet said.

Chinese shoes were subject to a tax of 16.5 percent while the tax rate for Vietnam was 10 percent. The tarriff removal is giving Chinese shoe makers a bigger advantage, Kiet said.

He also noted that while the EU decided to drop the antidumping tariffs, it was still monitoring footwear imports strictly and would bring back the duties if necessary.

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