China lodges dispute with WTO over duties on shoes

China yesterday launched a dispute at the World Trade Organisation against EU duties on shoes, but the European Union insisted its measures were in line with WTO rules and denied they were protectionist.

China’s protest against anti-dumping duties extended in December was further evidence of its increasing assertiveness in the WTO. It also indicated that despite mounting commercial tensions around the world between the United States, China, the European Union and other states, the rules-based global trading system is still working and the WTO remains the preferred forum for countries to work out their trade differences.

The dispute will be closely watched by major shoe industry players such as Germany’s Adidas and Puma, and Nike of the United States, as well as smaller European players such as Italy’s Geox, Denmark’s Ecco and Spain’s Camper.

China said in a filing to the WTO yesterday that it was seeking consultations with the EU over the duties, the first step in a formal dispute at the global trade arbiter.