Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Shoemakers plan protest to demand government action on Chinese imports

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese shoemakers plan to take to the streets next month to urge the government to impose anti-dumping duties on footwear made in China, saying cheap Chinese imports are having a negative impact on the local shoemaking industry.

"Like other countries, we also suffer from massive volumes of imports from China," said Lin Chin-hsing (林進興), chairman of an association established to promote locally made shoes, in a phone interview.

The association plans to call for 10,000 people in the industry to join the protest on Sept. 29, Lin said.

Taiwan lifted its ban on Chinese shoes in 2002. According to custom statistics, Chinese shoes accounted for 89 percent of all shoe imports in 2003. The number dropped to 77 percent in 2004 and climbed back to 87 percent last year.

Low-priced shoes accounted for up to 80 percent of Taiwan's shoe retail market, but the segment is dominated by imports from China, and some from Vietnam, Lin said.

The EU early this month proposed slapping a blanket duty of 16.5 percent on all leather shoe imports from China and 10 percent on Vietnamese imports. The proposal was rejected by EU members.

Besides anti-dumping duties, Lin said he hopes the government will also raise the tariff on shoe imports, which are currently 5 percent to 7.7 percent. The rate in Japan and China is about 20 percent, he said.

Chen further requested that customs authorities inspect tariff declarations, as many Chinese shoe exporters declared 20 percent of the actual prices, resulting in unfair competition for local makers.

The association invited legislators and government officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and other associations to discuss the issue in July, and started to collect related information regarding the dumping, he said.

This will be the second dumping case against China that Taiwan has investigated.

The government is to impose anti-dumping duties ranging from 86.6 percent to 204.1 percent on towel imports from China for the next five years.

Provisional anti-dumping duties have been levied on Chinese-made towels since June 1.

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