The Regulation (EU) 2016/1731 signed by Jean-Claude Juncker, President, EU Commission, on September 28, concerns footwear with uppers of leather or composition leather but excludes sports footwear, footwear involving special technology, slippers and other indoor footwear and footwear with a protective toecap, produced in China and Vietnam.

Like China, Vietnam has faced antidumping measures from Europe on imports of certain footwear with uppers with leather since March 2006, when the Commission adopted Regulation (EC) No 553/2006. The duties, which will range from 9.7 % to 16.5 %, are extended for another 15 months.

Footwear manufacturers and importers such as C & J Clark International, Puma and Timberland Europe, have challenged the anti-dumping measures alleging they are discriminatory and demanded compensation, but all the claims regarding procedural irregularities were rejected by the Commission, which stated that “all economic operators were fully aware, when importing footwear from China and Vietnam, that those imports were subject to a duty”.

According to the Commission, the Regulation “clearly stipulates that firms must have one set of basic accounting records, which are independently audited in line with international accounting standards and are applied for all purposes”, and that none of the Chinese or Vietnamese suppliers which have appealed to the decision fulfilled these requirements.

In 2016, Vietnam ranked third in global exports of leather shoes, in value terms, behind China and Italy. It is estimated the country manufactures over 920 million pairs of footwear annually, of which 800 million are exported, with Europe representing 30% of the market share.