WTO to rule on China-EU shoe dispute

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The World Trade Organization said Tuesday it would rule on a case brought by China against the European Union over penalty taxes imposed by Brussels on Chinese shoe imports.

"A panel was established," a WTO spokesman said.

China told the trade body's dispute settlement mechanism that punitive taxes imposed by the EU had "a very serious impairment on the interests of Chinese industries.

"To give but one example, it has negatively affected the jobs and livelihood of around 150,000 workers employed in the production of leather footwear," said a Chinese diplomat, who asked the WTO to form a panel to rule on the complaint.

The EU decided in December 2009 to extend punitive taxes on imports of Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes -- first introduced more than three years ago as an anti-dumping measure -- by a further 15 months.

Dumping occurs when a product is sold in a foreign market at less than its domestic cost price.

The EU meanwhile said it was "ready to defend" the measures which it claimed were in line with WTO rules.

"The European Union regrets this step taken by ... China and considers this step to be premature, in particular as China decided not to complete the consultations," an EU diplomat said.

"The EU is strongly convinced of the strength of its case. We stand ready to defend our measures that we consider to be fully consistent with WTO law," the diplomat added.

© 2010 AFP

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