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EU must now end shoe import taxes

Retailers are urging the European Commission to accept that import taxes which have pushed up the price of shoes from China and Vietnam should finally end.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

EU must now end shoe import taxes

Retailers are urging the European Commission to accept that import taxes which have pushed up the price of shoes from China and Vietnam should finally end.

The tariffs were originally imposed in 2006, then extended in 2008 at the request of European manufacturers who claimed Chinese and Vietnamese makers were competing unfairly. The tariffs are due to expire this April. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has campaigned consistently for the unjustified and protectionist duties to be scrapped, saying they drive up prices for low income families and wipe out retailers', already modest, margins.

Now the European Federation of the Footwear Industry has announced it will not fight for a further extension of the duties which add 16.5 per cent and 10 per cent to the dockside price of shoes from China and Vietnam respectively.

British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "These tariffs were always, unjustified, protectionist and wrong. When even the European shoemakers who wanted them recognise they don't have support, it's clearer than ever that there is no reason why they should continue.

"The Commission must make sure they do cease in April as scheduled. This would be a victory for customers, common sense and sustained BRC lobbying. UK customers are already facing price rises from the VAT increase, the rising cost of commodities such as cotton and wheat and spiralling fuel and energy charges.

"These tariffs were only ever about protecting the interests of a few uncompetitive European producers at the expense of consumers and retailers. Their removal would be a welcome help to hard-pressed households attempting to stretch family budgets further."

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