Ministry backs shoemakers' EU lawsuits

By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-13 06:20

The Ministry of CommerceĦĦSunday threw its weight behind domestic shoemakers seeking legal action against the European Union for anti-dumping tariffs.

"The Chinese Government respects and supports their move," said an official with the ministry's Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports, adding it is their legal right to do so.

He said it also indicates that Chinese enterprises have learned to defend their legal rights amid international competition.

The European Commission decided in a final ruling on a dumping claim to levy a 16.5 per cent tariff on China-made leather shoes beginning October 7. The charges will be in effect for two years.

According to the EU laws, Chinese enterprises can file complaints at EU courts within two months after the final ruling is announced.

Chinese shoe manufacturers and industry bodies announced late last month that they would sue the European Commission over the duty.

The commerce ministry official noted that the commission had violated EU regulations in the dumping charges against Chinese leather shoes.

"We also notice that there are several success stories, in which Chinese enterprises won lawsuits against foreign governments' anti-dumping rulings," he said.

Aokang, one of China's biggest makers of leather shoes, was the first to announce the campaign against the EU rulings. It has been joined by industrial associations and individual enterprises.

The China Leather Shoes and Sport Shoes Commission said it supports Aokang in its action to protect China's footwear industry and defend the national interest.

A dozen shoe manufacturers from Guangdong, Zhejiang and Liaoning provinces have also announced that they would hire EU lawyers to jointly file the lawsuit.

Lu Jianhua, director of the ministry's foreign trade department, earlier said the EU anti-dumping charges were likely to affect US$730 million worth of exports and more than 70,000 Chinese jobs.

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