A group of 14 shoe companies in Wenzhou City in east China's Zhejiang province issued a joint declaration on Friday, to oppose the EU sanctions, the official Xinhua news agency said.

 

In the declaration, the enterprises proposed that all Chinese shoemakers concerned should enhance co-operation with their EU trade partners in filing objections.

 

The EU accuses about 20,000 Chinese shoemakers of selling their leather products for export at less than normal value due to unfair government and industry practices.

 

Such practices are known as "dumping" and the tariffs are "anti-dumping measures" in World Trade Organisation (WTO) terminology.

 

Against WTO rules

 

Brussels is set to phase in the tariffs on Chinese leather shoe exports over five months, rising to 19.4%.

 

Vietnamese shoemakers face similar action and will be subjected to extra tariffs of 16.8%.

 

The duties could last as long as five years.

 

China's shoe industry rejects
claims of unfair trade practices

The 14 shoe companies said the tariff hike went against WTO rules as the EU did not obtain enough evidence to warrant it.

 

The report said, besides hurting the business of the 14 companies, the new tariff would also harm European shoe importers and consumers.

 

China's shoe industry - much of which is based in Wenzhou where 4,000 footwear manufacturers are headquartered - have rejected the EU's claims of unfair trade practices.

 

It argues it is relying on China's huge supply of cheap labour for its inexpensive products, as well as rapidly modernising  industry techniques, and has vowed to appeal to the EU.