Europe’s SMEs call on European Commission to drop footwear duties

Small and medium-sized footwear companies across the European Union are calling on EU Member States to take immediate action to save the European footwear sector.

Europe's SMEs call on European Commission to drop footwear duties

Zug, Switzerland – Small and medium-sized footwear companies across the European Union are calling on EU Member States to take immediate action to save the European footwear sector.

On 19 November, EU Member State representatives will meet to take a crucial vote on whether or not to extend footwear anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese imports of leather footwear to the EU.

Europe's SMEs have borne the brunt of the footwear duties for the past three-and-a-half years. For purely political reasons, and despite an understanding that the measures would be terminated in 2008, the European Commission chose not to honour its commitment. We are deeply concerned that the Commission's lack of resolve could lead to the disappearance of hundreds of European footwear SMEs.

“Extending the footwear duties spells certain disaster for hundreds of small footwear producers in Europe. The economic crisis has pushed us to the limit. A continuation of the duties could push us over the edge,” said Manfred Junkert, Director of the Federation of the German Footwear Industry.

European footwear producers have calculated that an extension of footwear anti-dumping duties would cost EU businesses and consumers well in excess of 1 billion euros. SMEs in the European footwear industry now need a clear vote of support from member states by rejecting any continuation of these duties and a clear signal from the EU that it's firmly committed to their future success and prosperity. SMEs are a key driver of growth in the European economy. As such, they make a major contribution to the dynamism and competitiveness of the European footwear sector.


•Mark Held, European Outdoor Group,
+44 1539 727255

•Rory Macrae, GPlus Europe,, +32 477 439 279

The European Footwear Alliance

EFA comprises hundreds of small and medium sized enterprises and many of Europe's most successful global footwear brands. It includes approximately 2,000 footwear companies from across the EU, directly and indirectly employing over 1.5 million EU people. It is made up of three European footwear bodies, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), the European Branded Footwear Coalition (EBFC) and the European Outdoors Group (EOG). EFA members design, market and import significant volumes of leather footwear from China and Vietnam subject to anti-dumping duties. Many of our members also have significant own footwear production inside and outside of the EU.

•European Branded Footwear Coalition (EBFC)

The European Branded Footwear Coalition is comprised of prominent European and global footwear companies that market high-quality footwear in the EU. The coalition includes brands such as Diesel, ECCO, Levi's, Timberland, Merrell, Rockport, Hush Puppies and Sebago. The Hauptverband der Deutschen Schuhindustrie (German Footwear Industry Federation - HDS) is also a member of EBFC. Founded in 1950, it represents all major regional associations grouping over 80 German footwear companies such as Rieker, Wortmann Group, Marc, Ara, Gabor and Camel Active.

•European Outdoor Group (EOG)

The EOG, founded in 2003, regroups over 48 leading outdoor companies. Its members account for over 90% of outdoor hiking and trekking sales in Europe. The combined strength of member brands, and a close cooperation with national outdoor associations, provides the EOG with an extremely powerful force to represent the European outdoor industry in a constructive and positive manner. EOG members include Lafuma, The North Face and Salomon.

• Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI)

The European sporting goods industry represented by FESI directly and indirectly employs about 650,000 workers in the EU with turnover of over €60 billion in economic activity in 2008. 70-75% of FESI's membership is made up of Small and Medium Enterprises. 1,800 companies are members, either directly or indirectly through national sports industry federations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. FESI also includes some of the most renowned global sporting goods brands such as Adidas and Puma from Germany or Lotto and Tecnica from Italy. FESI members account for 98% of athletic footwear sales in Europe.


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