HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam called on the European Union to end its anti-dumping duties on leather footwear, denouncing the “hard” impact it has on local companies and employment.
The trade ministry in a statement received Tuesday said the tax — which the EU slaps on imports it deems too low — affected the employment of more than half a million workers in Vietnam.
Exports from Vietnam to the EU of shoes with leather uppers have fallen from 120,400 in 2005 to 91,000 last year, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).
“About 20 to 25 percent of footwear manufacturers were hard hit by the anti-dumping measures and 40.000 workers lost their jobs in the last two years”, the ministry’s statement said.
The anti-dumping measures were introduced by the EU in 2006 to combat an influx of leather shoes from Vietnam and China, where Brussels said manufacturers were getting unfair state aid.
They have been strongly attacked in Asia and when imposed were supported by the smallest majority of EU states, with 13 of the 25 nations in favour.
The tariffs were originally imposed for two years but an EU source said they could be extended into next year.
Lefaso estimates that they have resulted in the loss of contracts for Vietnamese manufacturers even in the shoes with non-leather uppers sector.
The anti-dumping measures have also “left many Vietnamese footwear workers living in poverty” at a time when inflation makes their lives “more and more” difficult, the statement said. Consumer prices increased by 28.3 percent year-on-year in August.