On Thursday 16 March the EU's anti dumping committee found itself split over the European Commission's plans to impose an anti-dumping duty, proposed by Peter Mandelson, to prevent cheep shoe imports from China and Vietnam undercutting EU manufacturers.

Although the Committee was split, under the Committee's voting rules abstentions are counted as yes votes.  Therefore the eleven abstentions in the vote mean that the committee has in fact voted in favour of the duties.  Following the Committee's apparent support of the duties the next few months shall be spent trying to achieve agreement among the Member States and setting out a way forward.

Italy and Portugal are in favour of the duty, having large shoe producing industries of their own, while Scandinavian countries, which import large amounts of shoes from Asia, completely rejected the need for the duty.  China and Vietnam have protested against the duties, with China stating that it would mark a step backwards in trade relations and questioning if the duties would conform to the World Trade Organisations rules.  There have also been warnings that many household names such as Reebok and Adidas could see significant price increases as a result.

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