POD Press January 2011 Drapers: End of anti-dumping gets mixed reaction

Thursday, 20 January 2011  |  Admin

Last week's decision by the EU to ditch the anti-dumping duties on leather footwear sourced from China and Vietnam will allow retailers to safeguard margins but is unlikely to lead to a drop in the retail price of footwear to consumers, industry leaders warned.

The duties, which amount to 16.5% on Chinese leather imports and 10% on Vietnamese leather footwear imports, were introduced in 2006 in an attempt to prevent the market from being swamped with cheap Far Eastern imports.

Last week it was announced that the anti-dumping duties would not be renewed on March 31st 2011.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which backed Drapers' 2009, Dump the Duties campaign to put pressure on the EU to ditch the levies, said that the change would reduce the retail price of footwear and drive consumer spending. Its head of EU affairs said " It will be significant enough to increase consumer confidence".

But retailers and manufacturers said it would only be enough to mitigate the rising costs of production, raw materials and freight.

Many brands have been forced to move production to other countries as a result of the duty. Dennis McNeil, director of Aegis shoes ltd (footwear licensees to Pod) commented:

" As a product-led company, Pod is known and trusted for its quality and for us to maintain this we made the decision to stay loyal to our factory and keep production in China.  As a consequence, we had to sacrifice our margins and the factory kept their prices as low as possible. Having said that, we did get to a point where we couldn't continue with the levies on top of the rising manufacturing costs and we did consider moving production to India. However, now that the anti-dumping levies have been abolished, our loyalty  to the factory has been worthwhile."

  Pod Heritage Podlers Paul O Donnell