Chinese shoemakers to file suit against EU
Updated: 2006-10-10 15:37

BEIJING - Chinese shoemakers plan to file a suit against the European Union contesting the legal and factual basis of the anti-dumping measures the EU has just taken against them.

"We have retained our attorney and will file a suit with the European Court of Justice," said sources with Aokang Group, a shoemaker based in coastal Wenzhou city of Zhejiang Province. "We will fight to the end to safeguard our rights by following international rules."

But analysts say it is hard to predict what ruling the European Court will hand down.

The EU adopted a new policy on October 5 reducing the normal 5-year anti-dumping term to two years and imposing anti-dumping duties of 16.5 percent on Chinese shoemakers.

The Ministry of Commerce told Xinhua on Monday the EU decision to impose anti-dumping duties on China-made leather shoes contradicted the principle of free and fair trade advocated by the World Trade Organization.

Wu Zhenchang, chairman of Chuangxin Shoemaking Company in Panyu in south China's Guangdong Province and sponsor of a union of Chinese shoe producers fighting EU anti-dumping measures, said more than 70 percent of shoe-related orders will probably shift to southeast Asia in the next two years because no European dealers will put up with the newly-imposed tariff.

"Chinese shoe makers will become uncompetitive because European shoe dealers will develop alternative sources of supply in two years," said Wu.

According to EU figures, China exported 1.25 billion pairs of shoes to Europe in 2005 and holds 50 percent of the European market. The Chinese figures show that China exported 700 million pairs of shoes to Europe in 2004.

Wu Chunyue, general manager of Aokang Group, estimated that China's exports of shoes to the EU will plummet by 40 percent in two years.

China has lodged complaints related to anti-dumping issues with the European Court in the past but only one complaint was upheld.

Experts propose that the issue be submitted to the WTO if China believes the EU anti-dumping measures violate WTO principles.