EU Continues Dump Duties During Review

GENEVA — The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-country bloc, said last Thursday it will launch a review of the punitive anti-dumping measures in force on some footwear imports from China and Vietnam, thus extending the duties until the examination is complete.

The punitive tariffs have been in place since October 2006, when the EU slapped duties of 16.5 percent on certain imports from China, and 10 percent on select imports from Vietnam.

Retailers and importers were disappointed with the decision to proceed ahead with the review after a majority of EU member states in a key committee on Sept. 17 voted 15 to 12 to reject the idea.

Peter Power, a spokesman for EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, said that in view of the strong interest raised by the issue, “the responsible services will work to complete the investigation as expeditiously as possible. If possible, in shorter than the usual time frame of 12 to 15 months.”

The EU official said “the legal conditions for opening the review are clearly met, according to the basic anti-dumping regulation,” and added that “despite this advisory vote, the commission’s legal obligations remain.”

Stuart Newman, legal adviser with the Brussels, Belgium-based Foreign Trade Association, an umbrella group for European retailers and importers, said expediting the review is “a small victory and good news.” Industry sources said the expedited review could be completed in half the normal time, or about seven months.

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