Indeks 
 Poprzedni 
 Następny 
 Pełny tekst 
Przebieg prac nad dokumentem podczas sesji
Dokument w ramach procedury : O-0005/2006

Teksty złożone :

O-0005/2006 (B6-0007/2006)

Debaty :

PV 14/03/2006 - 15
CRE 14/03/2006 - 15

Głosowanie :

Teksty przyjęte :


Debaty
Wtorek, 14 marca 2006 r. - Strasburg Wersja poprawiona

15. Sytuacja w europejskim sektorze obuwniczym, rok po liberalizacji (debata)
PV
MPphoto
 
 

  Presidente. L'ordine del giorno reca l'interrogazione orale dell'on. Enrique Barón Crespo, a nome della commissione per il commercio internazionale, alla Commissione, sulla situazione del settore calzaturiero europeo a un anno dalla sua liberalizzazione (O-0005/2006 - B6-0007/2006).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Enrique Barón Crespo (PSE), Autor. – Señor Presidente, Señorías, señor Comisario, la industria del calzado es un sector económico importante en la Comunidad Europea, mundialmente conocida por la excelencia de sus productos.

Es un sector compuesto en su mayoría por pequeñas y medianas empresas localizadas, en muchos casos, en regiones donde constituyen la mayor fuente de empleo. En 2005 había más de 11 000 empresas que directa o indirectamente empleaban a más de 500 000 trabajadores, produciendo alrededor de 700 millones de zapatos, lo cual supone un 10 % de la producción mundial. Hay que señalar, además, que, en respuesta al proceso de apertura, la industria del calzado se ha sometido a una reestructuración extensiva, concentrando su producción sobre todo en la gama de precio más elevado. Yo diría que la especialidad europea más clara es la industria del cuero.

Como ha ocurrido en el caso del textil, el impacto del proceso de liberalización ha sido importante al terminar el sistema de cuotas. El sistema de control introducido por la Comisión demuestra claramente que las importaciones, particularmemte de China, pero no sólo de China, han crecido de manera espectacular. El año pasado, las cifras en términos de valor y cantidad superaron en promedio el 450 % de incremento de importaciones y, en algunos casos, el 900 %.

El precio medio del calzado importado ha descendido significativamente y, sin embargo, el precio de venta de los productos no ha bajado, lo cual no corrobora la tesis, que creemos que es importante defender, de quiénes son realmente los beneficiarios del proceso de liberalización del comercio. En principio, deben de ser los consumidores.

Hace un año, la Confederación Europea del Calzado presentó una queja por prácticas de tipo dumping en el calzado de cuero. Este es uno de los mayores casos planteados en la Unión Europea y que afecta a muchas industrias por un valor de más de 800 millones de euros.

El 23 de febrero, el Comisario, señor Mandelson, anunció a la prensa que la Comisión iba a recomendar un aumento de aranceles del 19,4 % para China y del 16,8 % para Viet Nam. El calzado de niño y otros, que representa una parte muy importante, no eran objeto de este tipo de medidas. El hecho es que la Comisión adoptó una decisión sin precedentes, introduciendo unos aranceles provisionales para un periodo de cinco meses en concepto de antidumping. Hay que señalar que, dado el valor unitario de los productos, tampoco es una medida que se pueda considerar descabellada, es un porcentaje relativamente pequeño.

No voy a entrar más en el tema dumping. Sin embargo, en calidad de Presidente de la Comisión de Comercio Internacional, sí querría hacer algunas consideraciones partiendo de un concepto inicial, y es la necesidad de respetar, en el marco de la OMC, las normas que nos hemos dado, tanto dentro como fuera de la Comunidad. Soy consciente de que se trata de algo más que de un simple caso de dumping. Se plantea, en algunos casos, la superviviencia del sector en Europa y también la posibilidad de que la deslocalización sea una respuesta adecuada a la evolución. Como saben, en estos casos todo el mundo tiene sus razones; ahora, no es concebible que toda la industria europea se desplace hacia el exterior.

Al mismo tiempo, hay que señalar que China está tratando de obtener un estatus de economía de mercado en el marco de la OMC. Hay aspectos relacionados con las investigaciones comunitarias que señalan que, en este caso, China no ha cumplido claramente con las obligaciones de cara a la OMC, tanto en el terreno de las subvenciones, más o menos encubiertas, como en el terreno de las falsificaciones. Por ello, señor Comisario, ésta es una oportunidad para demostrar a los ciudadanos que la Comisión va a hacer todo lo que esté en su poder para asegurar que las normas comerciales sean respetadas, incluyendo, si ello fuera necesario, el recurso al órgano de solución de diferencias en la OMC.

Estas distorsiones del mercado no se limitan al sector del cazado. Existen fundadas sospechas del carácter habitual de ciertas intervenciones ilegales de apoyo a las empresas exportadoras chinas. Señor Comisario, teniendo en cuenta las expectativas de la industria afectada y la sensibilidad de la opinión pública europea, quisiera saber qué acciones emprenderá la Comisión para asegurar que las reglas de la OMC serán respetadas por este país. Las consideraciones políticas no debe prevalecer sobre las conclusiones técnicas en un caso de antidumping. Las medidas que usted ha propuesto son controvertidas. La industria europea y ciertos Estados miembros no están satisfechos con su propuesta. Son públicas las objeciones a la "creatividad" mostrada por la Comisión en la aplicación de sus bien establecidas normas y prácticas en materia de antidumping. No sé si estas alegaciones son ciertas. Lo que sí sé es que las investigaciones antidumping están basadas en leyes que deben aplicarse fielmente sin ningún tipo de consideraciones paralelas.

Le puedo señalar en conclusión, señor Comisario, que la Comisión de Comercio Internacional del Parlamento Europeo va a seguir muy de cerca todo este proceso, porque creemos que el paso que ha dado la Comisión es un paso inicial, pero que debe completarse con una actitud favorable a que China u otros países, como Viet nam, puedan tener más posibilidades en el comercio internacional, pero respetando conjuntamente las reglas que nos hemos dado.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission. Mr President, in response to the very welcome questions, let me stress that I am strongly committed to developing the two-way trade and investment relationship between Europe and China and with other Asian markets, including Vietnam. There is no greater prize, in my view, for European trade policy in the coming years than the prize of getting those relationships right.

I believe that Europe must respect and adjust to the natural advantages those economies have, shifting our own focus to sectors and to products where our own skills and technologies give us the edge. That is how trade grows and that is how Europe’s economies have grown over centuries.

The European footwear industry is in the front line of global competition. For all their ingenuity, creativity and excellence, Europe’s leather-shoe makers are faced with an extraordinary challenge from Asia’s producers. However, the case of dumping requires me to distinguish between this tough new competition, on the one hand, and genuinely unfair trade on the other.

Europe’s trade defence measures target unfair trade. They cannot protect us from tough competition. They cannot shield us from Asia’s natural and legitimate low-cost advantages. However, when those comparative advantages are topped up by unfair and uncompetitive practice, we have a right and an obligation to act. That is why, having been presented with a preliminary analysis and assessment by my services, I have recommended to the Commission and to Member States provisional duties in this case.

There is clear evidence of serious state intervention in the leather footwear sector in China and Vietnam: cheap finance, tax breaks, non-market land rents and improper asset valuation leading to dumping. That dumping is causing serious injury to EU producers.

The dumping duties that I am recommending will ensure that retailers with goods in transit are not suddenly faced with unexpected costs at the border. I am suggesting that they be phased in over a period of five months, beginning at about 4% in April. It means that importers can plan ahead over the next six months with a maximum of transparency and predictability. It nevertheless means that after six months the full duty will be in place and the damaging effects of dumping will be counteracted.

As I am required by law to do, I have pondered the question of consumer and retailer interest in this case very seriously. I have proposed to exclude high-tech sports shoes which are no longer produced in significant numbers in Europe. I also propose to exclude children’s shoes so as to be sure that even small price rises are not passed on to poorer families.

I know that some are worried about the possible impact on consumer prices. I believe, on the basis of the facts, that there is a margin within the supply chain to absorb a small duty on import costs by spreading it across product ranges and the distribution chain. As I have said, these are proposals for provisional measures. They will be discussed with Member States and must be confirmed by the College of Commissioners.

I believe that I am proposing a balanced solution that deserves the backing of Member States and this House. It corrects the injury but allows maximum predictability for importers and passes on minimal additional costs to consumers. There will be no quotas, no limit at all on imports of leather shoes from China and Vietnam. I have told the Chinese and Vietnamese Governments that I want to work with them to see how they can address the concerns raised by the EU investigation.

Imposing a duty on dumped goods is not protectionism. It is not a question of asking consumers to subsidise uncompetitive European producers, because the easy comparison is too often made. It is also worth being clear that shoes are not the next textiles. The textile issue concerned fairly-traded textile imports. Our proposed anti-dumping measures on leather shoes tackle, in contrast, unfair competition. The Commission has a legal obligation to investigate such a claim and a legal right to protect European producers against such practice.

Some of your questions address the overall situation in the European footwear sector. Let me address this briefly. The contraction of the footwear sector is a long-term process that began long before trade in footwear with China was liberalised in 2005. Nonetheless, it is clear that there have been winners and losers from this change. Some producers have increased their exports and others, including Turkey and some of the ACP countries, have seen their exports to the EU and elsewhere hold steady or fall.

Clearly, it is China, equipped with a staggering production and export capacity, that has benefited most. Here in Europe, more than 40 000 footwear jobs have been lost and more than 1 000 footwear companies have closed down since 2001. European production of leather shoes has fallen by 30% and profit margins have been heavily squeezed to just over 1%.

However, we should not pretend that this intense competitive pressure on European footwear producers is related solely to dumped goods. In large part, these are the consequences of changing production and consumption patterns in the global economy. I believe we should accept this, while helping those affected to adjust to these changes. We should also acknowledge that European producers have significantly contributed to the change by relocating their production to Asia in quite a number of cases. As a result, we need to take into account a range of European producer interests in assessing our interests in this matter.

Rising to the Asian challenge places great demands on our businesses and workers. The Commission’s growth and job strategy is built on the idea that Europe must commit itself to equipping today’s Europeans to respond to this challenge and to create tomorrow’s jobs. We cannot block globalisation and economic change. I do not believe it is in Europe’s interests to try. Those who think that the Trade Commissioner can reverse global economic change are asking King Canute to hold back the tide.

However, we can shape globalisation, even harness its dynamic potential for renewal and, indeed, for innovation in Europe. I believe that the broader footwear issue confronts us with that imperative. We must invest in change, invest in those affected by change, but face up to the changing world in doing so. We must also be robust in our defence of the rules and of fair competition. We need to recognise that if we want to win the wider political argument for free trade, we must be ready to defend and stand up for fair trade.

However, we cannot deny Asia its comparative advantages or the competitive industry that is lifting hundreds of millions in the developing world out of poverty. The only sustainable balance to that competition is the creativity, innovation and commitment of European companies themselves, reinforced with the appropriate help from political authorities.

I am happy to return to any of these points in detail and to answer points that any Member may subsequently raise.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Robert Sturdy, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. Mr President, I am a little bit worried that we, and the Commission in particular, have not learned anything from the problem of the ‘bra wars’, as they became known, when we had to readjust our position. I fully understand the situation on anti-dumping measures and agree entirely with the Commission’s outlook on it. However, Commissioner, you said one or two things in your speech which concern me.

You said that, when you looked at Vietnam and China, there were circumstances where they had financing, special financial agreements and tax breaks etc. Does that never apply in some cases in the European Union? Are there not cases where this quite often happens in the European Union? In particular, have European funding, structural funds, etc. never been used? Would there be a risk of us perhaps being taken to the WTO on the extent of anti-dumping measures or support?

Could you also answer one or two other questions? I understand the situation with China very clearly and I would accept your position, but one of the things that we are trying to do in the Western world at the moment is make poverty history. This is something that we have been talking about quite a lot. However, Vietnam, 30 years ago and even 10 years ago, was a very poor country, probably poorer than many sub-Saharan African countries. Why have they had the need? Surely they have been able to compete without actually putting in a support mechanism? Could you answer that? This is a country which has dragged itself from being one of the poorest and now at least has some sort of infrastructure.

I am concerned that we are going to be protective of the European shoe industry. You say not. However, I still feel concerned.

I should like you to answer one final question. I think we as MEPs and you as the Commission have missed an opportunity to get the message across about dumping. People see us as being protectionist. Your staff told me that a pair of designer boots from China cost about EUR 180 in Europe and yet only EUR 10 coming from China. If the effect of the 19% is passed directly on to the consumer, will the 19% be calculated on the EUR 180 or on the EUR 10 that it costs to bring them in?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Erika Mann, on behalf of the PSE Group. – Mr President, I have a few questions and I will not be able to speak on behalf of my group in this case because, as with the anti-dumping cases, I think we are pretty much divided and have our own views on this issue. Nevertheless, I want to thank the Commissioner for presenting his point of view and for intervening.

My starting point is that the anti-dumping measures and instruments need to be taken quite seriously. On that point, I support my colleague Mr Sturdy, who is right. If we do not use the instrument in a transparent and fair way it could become quite complicated for us.

My first question to the Commissioner is: will the EU produce an overall assessment of the conditions of competition and state intervention in the People’s Republic of China? The European Parliament would also like to receive a report on China’s compliance with WTO rules and accession commitment five years after its accession to the WTO.

Would the EC take WTO action if China and Vietnam do not stop their unfair actions within a reasonable period of time and what would these measures be?

Commissioner, do you agree that the EC agreement and the results of the AD investigations are confidential and that leaks of information may lead to market distortions? Could you explain in detail the rationale behind the exclusion of children’s footwear, especially in view of the fact that in some countries children’s footwear is worn by adults? Could you explain why the publication of the results of the anti-surveillance system were so delayed? If I am not completely mistaken, it was one year. One small point: how do you see this investigation relating to another evaluation which is currently being undertaken as regards giving China market economy status?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Johan Van Hecke, namens de ALDE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, mijnheer de commissaris, recente cijfers van uw diensten die u blijkbaar al lang kende, hebben ons geleerd dat sinds de vrijmaking van de Europese invoer vorig jaar, de maandelijkse import uit China van schoenen is gestegen met 400% en in sommige gevallen zelfs met 900%. Nu pas hebt u dumpingheffingen aangekondigd. Volgens sommigen "too little and too late". Zij geloven dat u een en ander had kunnen voorkomen door alerter, door sneller te reageren.

De Europese schoenenindustrie is een relatief kleine sector, beperkt tot een viertal Europese landen en zelfs al voor een groot deel gedelokaliseerd. De vraag die zich stelt is, of dit überhaupt een voldoende reden is om deze sector compleet te laten teloorgaan, zeker als hij moet optornen - en dat heeft u zelf goed gezegd - tegen onbillijke handelspraktijken, zoals dumping of rechtstreekse en verdoken staatssteun.

De vrije markt is vandaag een sociaal gecorrigeerde markt waar op wereldvlak spelregels gelden die door iedere deelnemer moeten worden nageleefd. Dit is hier duidelijk niet het geval. China wil graag de voordelen van het WHO-lidmaatschap, maar vergeet dat daar ook verplichtingen aan verbonden zijn. Het is duidelijk dat de ganse wereldmarkt hierdoor ontwricht dreigt te worden. Gisteren textiel, vandaag schoenen, wat wordt het morgen?

Waarom, mijnheer de commissaris, werd er niet vroeger gereageerd? Of is de Commissie echt bang om de grote gele reus China voor het hoofd te stoten? En vooral, kan de commissaris ons uitleggen hoe wij aan de werknemers in de Europese schoenindustrie, die nu hun job dreigen te verliezen als gevolg van onbillijke concurrentie, de voordelen moeten uitleggen van dit soort globalisering?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Caroline Lucas, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, there is a certain sense of déjà vu in this debate. Although anti-dumping is indeed different from the example of the multi-fibre arrangement, I believe it is no coincidence that this crisis follows the end of quotas. It is clear that in a world of completely deregulated and unfettered free trade the so-called ‘China price’ will drag costs and standards down right across the globe, with the harshest impact on the poorest. I believe we will see more cases of this kind until we recognise that the way forward is through a system of quotas that enables everyone to benefit from trade, rather than just a few.

Mr Mandelson talks about Europe being able to adapt by moving up the value-added chain, but we have had this discussion many times. He knows my view that essentially China is going to do exactly the same, and why wouldn’t it? That is not going to provide a solution for Europe and it is not going to provide a solution for the rest of the world either.

What is interesting about this case is the extraordinary lengths that the Commission appears to have gone to in order to give the impression that this is a much less serious case than it is. It almost feels as if the neo-liberal dogma and ideology are getting the better of the facts on the ground.

There are, therefore, some key questions to be answered, including the level of duties, based on injury, that the Commissioner has found: 19.4% for China and 16.8% for Vietnam. Those are apparently based on adjustments never used in the European Community before. There is real concern in the industry that they will not be enough. The exemption of children’s and sports shoes has the effect of excluding around 42% of footwear imported at dumping prices, yet for which dumping duties will not be paid. I do not believe that is fair to European producers; but it is not fair to Chinese workers either, who are working for pitiful wages – around USD 12 per week, as mentioned in reports of China Labor Watch – while at the same time social rights are reduced to an absolute minimum. Unless we suppose that the consumer is benefiting, I believe it is worth noting that the anti-dumping duties are not likely to lead to increased consumer prices, but to decrease the profit margins of the importers.

I believe that we need to be genuinely concerned about the impact of competition from companies based in China – not just on Europe, but on poorer countries such as the EuroMed countries – and recognise that until we have a system of managed trade, the winners will always be concentrated in a handful of ever fewer countries and the losers will prove to be the majority.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vittorio Agnoletto, a nome del gruppo GUE/NGL. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, per dieci anni, l'Unione europea e gli Stati Uniti hanno guidato le trattative per l'entrata della Cina nell'OMC. Ora Pechino ha imparato la lezione e non esita ad applicare le regole dell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio con la spietata risolutezza degna dei suoi maestri.

Le misure anti-dumping non sembrano per nulla rispettose della legislazione e della giurisprudenza comunitaria e possono avere un impatto estremamente negativo sull'intero sistema della politica commerciale comunitaria e sui consumatori: è necessario pertanto rimettere totalmente in discussione le dottrine liberiste dell'OMC.

Riteniamo importante che l'Unione europea sostenga un modello economico che ponga al centro il rispetto delle clausole sociali e dei diritti dei lavoratori in ogni parte del mondo.

L'Europa si deve adoperare maggiormente nelle diverse istanze internazionali per promuovere il lavoro dignitoso. L'Europa deve realizzare normative atte a valorizzare marchi per accertare la provenienza geografica e il rispetto delle regole sociali e ambientali.

Se non rimetteremo in discussione il liberismo dell'OMC, dopo il tessile e dopo le scarpe, vi sarà un'altra lunga lista di prodotti.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nigel Farage, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. – Mr President, I should like to express my sympathy to Commissioner Mandelson. Commissioner, you have got an impossible job. How can 25 countries have one single trade policy? One size does not fit all, whether it is trade policy or shoe sizes.

You have also got the problem that you yourself are a free trader, a globalist, a moderniser. You recognise what is going on in the world, but you are battling against the revived economic nationalism that exists within this European Union. You simply cannot do your job and you are overseeing a regime that is laced with protectionism and sheer hypocrisy as we, of course, subsidise our own agriculture and will keep export subsidies in place until 2013.

But, in line with what John Blundell, the Director-General of the IEA, said just the other day: do you recognise that the overwhelming majority of British businesses now want British withdrawal from the common commercial policy and for us to get back to running our own trade policy? Do you recognise that?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristiana Muscardini, a nome del gruppo UEN. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la liberalizzazione del mercato delle calzature dal primo gennaio 2005 ha prodotto un aumento delle importazioni dalla Cina pari al 500 per cento in un anno, determinando un'ulteriore contrazione del settore calzaturiero comunitario e facendo aumentare i fallimenti e anche la disoccupazione.

I prezzi all'importazione sono artificialmente bassi, non vi può esserci concorrenza corretta quando le basi di partenza sono talmente divaricate e non vi è equità quando impera il dumping. La conseguenza di questa situazione ha colpito anche i fornitori di calzature e di componenti dei paesi terzi, inclusi i paesi candidati e paesi in via di sviluppo che sono stati espulsi dal mercato comunitario.

Dopo la denuncia dell'industria europea, contro la Cina e il Vietnam la Commissione ha aperto un'indagine anti-dumping che, per dimensioni, è la maggiore di questo genere mai avviata dalla Comunità.

Al Parlamento però non bastano le buone intenzioni, chiediamo informazioni su punti specifici. La scomparsa del sistema delle quote che impatto ha avuto per l'industria comunitaria e per i paesi in via di sviluppo? Come intende la Commissione affrontare l'esigenza di ristrutturare il settore calzaturiero europeo? Quali valutazioni fornisce la Commissione sui risultati del sistema di vigilanza comunitario nel settore? Come procedono le indagini anti-dumping e quali sono le prospettive per la tutela dell'interesse comunitario? Intende la Commissione avviare ulteriori iniziative a livello internazionale, come avvenuto per il tessile, o aspettiamo che sia troppo tardi? La Commissione ha considerato la necessità di avviare un'indagine nei confronti della Cina nel cuore del meccanismo transitorio di salvaguardia specifico per prodotto?

Il livello della protezione previsto nella proposta è troppo basso, è inadeguato, tanto più se viene spalmato su sei mesi, nel corso dei quali i cinesi non aspetteranno che il dazio raggiunga il venti per cento per esportare enormi quantità di calzature. Questo, signor Presidente e signor Commissario, non è libero mercato.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ryszard Czarnecki (NI). – Panie Przewodniczący! Europa musi się bronić, to oczywiste. Wzrost o kilkaset procent importu obuwia z takich krajów jak Chiny, ale także Wietnam (jeszcze bardziej dynamiczny od tego drugiego kraju) pokazuje skalę zagrożeń. I oczywiście musimy uciekać się do pewnych instrumentów, które tylko pozornie są sprzeczne z wolnym rynkiem. Pozornie, ponieważ produkcja na takich kontynentach jak Azja, w sektorze, o którym mówimy nie ma nic wspólnego z wolnym rynkiem ze względu na niebywale tanią siłę roboczą. Jest rzeczą oczywistą, że Unia Europejska ma prawo bronić się i używać normalnych procedur i instrumentów ekonomicznych.

Ale apeluję o pewną konsekwencję, bo jeżeli prześledzimy, że bezrobocie w tym sektorze dotknęło kilka państw, szczególnie Unii Europejskiej, to te same kraje odmawiają uznania wolnego rynku pracy w ramach Unii Europejskiej. Myślę, że tu jest ewidentny brak pewnej konsekwencji i o tę konsekwencję, zwłaszcza do rządów tych państw członkowskich, apeluję.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE-DE). – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, vous nous avez donné les chiffres: aujourd'hui, la production de chaussures en Europe a reculé d'environ 30 %, les prix à l'importation ont chuté de plus de 20 % et, surtout, le secteur a perdu près de 40 000 emplois. Six mois après le textile – nous l'avions prévu à l'époque –, le marché communautaire se retrouve de nouveau confronté à des pratiques commerciales déloyales. En effet, nous disposons, vous nous l'avez signalé, de preuves d'une intervention étatique et de l'octroi de subventions déguisées en faveur des producteurs de la Chine et du Vietnam. Or, confrontée à la constatation d'une telle violation des pratiques commerciales, l'Union européenne a le devoir de réagir et de corriger le préjudice causé à l'industrie communautaire, et ce, conformément aux règles de l'OMC.

Voilà pourquoi il est nécessaire, comme vous l'avez démontré, Monsieur le Commissaire, de mettre en place des mesures antidumping sur ces importations. Instituer un droit sur des marchandises faisant l'objet d'un dumping ne revient pas à demander au consommateur de subventionner des entreprises européennes non concurrentielles. Il s'agit plutôt, en effet, de garantir les conditions d'un commerce équilibré, qui préserve l'intérêt des consommateurs et l'intérêt des producteurs. Aussi, intervenir pour limiter les effets négatifs d'un dumping ne doit pas être perçu comme du protectionnisme.

L'Union européenne aspire à avoir des relations commerciales harmonieuses et ouvertes avec ses partenaires asiatiques pour sortir aussi ces populations de la pauvreté, mais elle aspire aussi à faire respecter des règles commerciales loyales et équitables pour tous.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Francisco Assis (PSE). – Um ano após a abolição das últimas restrições à importação de calçado proveniente da China, estamos em condições de avaliar objectivamente as consequências da liberalização comercial neste sector e que se caracterizam por um aumento brutal das importações com as inerentes consequências para o tecido produtivo europeu.

Esta nova realidade acentua a necessidade de um acompanhamento rigoroso do processo de reestruturação em curso no sector do calçado, incentivando o esforço de adaptação do universo empresarial, reorganizando o tecido económico das regiões mais directamente afectadas e atendendo às consequências sociais das mudanças verificadas. Mas, ao mesmo tempo, é indispensável que a Comissão Europeia se empenhe em detectar e contrariar situações de manifesta concorrência desleal que agravam dramaticamente um quadro já de si problemático. A concorrência desleal constitui a maior aliada das pulsões proteccionistas. A União Europeia deve ser particularmente exigente neste domínio.

Nessa perspectiva, devemos saudar a decisão da Comissão quanto à adopção de medidas anti-dumping após a verificação de que, quer a China, quer o Vietname, têm recorrido a práticas censuráveis tendo em vista o abaixamento artificial dos preços das suas exportações neste sector. Tais práticas são particularmente inadmissíveis, tendo em conta que estes países já dispõem de extraordinárias vantagens comparativas. Daí que não possa haver lugar a qualquer tipo de contemplação calculista.

Ora, as medidas adoptadas, se bem que louváveis globalmente, sugerem-nos algumas preocupações. A opção pela implementação progressiva dos direitos anti-dumping, começando por um valor baixo, pode originar no imediato um aumento por antecipação das importações provenientes da China e do Vietname agravando, assim, a situação existente. Eis uma preocupação séria. Por outro lado, a opção pela exclusão de certas categorias de produtos do universo de aplicação das medidas também merece um claro reparo, temendo-se um aproveitamento abusivo que só poderá ser devidamente contrariado se se desenvolver, como esperamos, um trabalho rigoroso de monitorização destas importações.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sajjad Karim (ALDE). – Mr President, in September I stood here and called on the Commissioner to demonstrate greater foresight in the first post-quota era. Little did I know then that since June, the Commission had statistics showing almost a 700% increase in imports of footwear from China, which indicated the serious state intervention in the sector that the Commission revealed five months later. The cynic in me suggests that these statistics were swept under the carpet in order to end the ‘bra wars’, another sticking plaster when the EU needs long-term solutions.

To add insult to injury, the Commission then went to the press with its plans for anti-dumping duties on leather shoes before even the Member States received the proposals, let alone this Parliament. Commissioner, EU manufacturers and retailers who fear the future in a market swamped with cheap Asian exports need answers, which you hide from them. They need confidence and hope, which you take away from them; and above all they require innovation, ideas and management from you, which you seem unable to provide.

Commissioner, first it was textiles, now it is shoes, next it will be furniture. Unless you demonstrate greater foresight and communicate fully with your EU partners we will not be able to work together and help European industry to face the challenge of these emerging markets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bastiaan Belder (IND/DEM). – Voorzitter, nog geen jaar na de problemen in de textielsector staat Europa aan de vooravond van een nieuw handelsconflict met China. De snelle economische opkomst van Aziatische landen verrast Europa keer op keer en opnieuw is Europa verdeeld. De EU mag zich echter niet laten verlammen door de tegenstellingen tussen noordelijke en zuidelijke lidstaten. Ook deze keer vormt het beleid van de Commissie een zwak compromis tussen vrije handel en protectionisme. De Commissie moet daarom prioriteit geven aan de ontwikkeling van een solide en eenduidig handelsbeleid met de Aziatische regio. De aaneenrijging van sectorale conflicten moet immers doorbroken worden.

Ik begrijp de frustratie van de importeurs en van de lidstaten die geen eigen industrie bezitten. Anderzijds ben ik van mening dat het van groot belang is om China te wijzen op de spelregels van de WTO. Die woorden moeten soms worden gevolgd door daden, mijnheer de commissaris. Ik roep u daarom op de geconstateerde staatsinterventie in de schoenensector ook mee te nemen in de onderhandelingen over de toekenning van de market economy status aan de Volksrepubliek China.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luca Romagnoli (NI). – Signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, siamo alle solite: dopo aver abolito ogni restrizione sulle importazioni di prodotti calzaturieri dall'Estremo Oriente e aver così danneggiato l'industria europea e italiana del settore con le ovvie ricadute occupazionali, si stanno gettando le basi della futura e certa compromissione delle sorti delle piccole e medie imprese. Queste saranno definitivamente schiacciate dalla sleale concorrenza di merci a bassissimo costo, prodotte senza alcuna seria verifica delle condizioni nella filiera di produzione e distribuzione, sia per quanto riguarda l'impatto ambientale che per le garanzie sociali e di impiego della manodopera.

Sono questi i fattori della produzione sui quali si gioca il vantaggio dei costi d'impresa, che alterano slealmente ogni capacità di concorrenza e la trasformano, invece cha da gioco del libero mercato, in aperto dumping contro gli interessi non solo di un settore, ma dell'intera comunità.

Chiedo che la Commissione intervenga in difesa del settore calzaturiero dalla concorrenza sleale dei prodotti importati da paesi extra UE, anche alla luce del fatto che le misure di vigilanza che l'Unione ha finora intrapreso si sono dimostrate praticamente inutili.

Rivendichiamo non solo vigilanza, ma anche difesa attiva del genio e della qualità dell'impresa calzaturiera europea, limitando fortemente le importazioni, imponendo dazi e certificando l'eticità sociale ed ambientale dei prodotti, come da me sollecitato già in altre occasioni richiesto.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Γεώργιος Παπαστάμκος (PPE-DE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, ανήκω σε αυτούς που υποστηρίζουν με θεσμική και πολιτική συνέπεια ένα πολυμερές, ισορροπημένο και ελεύθερο παγκόσμιο εμπορικό σύστημα. Εννοώ ένα σύστημα που στηρίζεται σε ακόμη πιο αυστηρούς κανόνες, σε πιο ενισχυμένους θεσμούς, σε πιο διαφανείς και δημοκρατικές διαδικασίες.

Η αύξηση των εισαγωγών στα δερμάτινα υποδήματα έως και 500% το 2005 - ο κ. Baron Crespo ανήγαγε το ποσοστό αυτό σε 900% - δεν είναι μόνο προϊόν της απελευθέρωσης. Και αυτό πρέπει να γίνει κατανοητό. Είναι προϊόν αθέμιτων πρακτικών κατά παράβαση των κανόνων του διεθνούς εμπορίου εκ μέρους της Κίνας και του Βιετνάμ, εκ μέρους δύο αναδυομένων οικονομιών.

Όπως ειπώθηκε και από άλλους συναδέλφους, χθες είχαμε την απώλεια χιλιάδων θέσεων εργασίας και τον αφανισμό εκατοντάδων παραγωγικών μονάδων στον κλάδο της ευρωπαϊκής κλωστοϋφαντουργίας, σήμερα στην υπόδηση. Κύριε Επίτροπε, η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση οφείλει να στείλει ένα ξεκάθαρο μήνυμα. Το υπαινιχθήκατε. Και σ' αυτό το μήνυμα είμαστε σύστοιχοι. Είμαστε μαζί σας. Ναι στον ανταγωνισμό, όχι στη φανερή ή συγκεκαλυμμένη στρέβλωσή του. Οι δασμοί αντι-ντάμπινγκ -πρέπει να γίνει κατανοητό αυτό- δεν είναι προστατευτικό μέτρο αλλά είναι μέτρο νόμιμης εμπορικής άμυνας. Για να είναι μάλιστα αποτελεσματικό αυτό το μέτρο θα πρέπει οι δασμοί να είναι ανάλογοι του ποσοστού του ντάμπινγκ.

Σε όσους προβάλλουν το επιχείρημα της καλύτερης τιμής κατά της επιβολής δασμών, αντιτάσσω το ερώτημα: ωφελήθηκαν οι καταναλωτές από τη μείωση των τιμών εισαγωγής μετά την απελευθέρωση; Η προσωπική μου γνώμη είναι ότι ωφελήθηκαν οι ολίγοι προμηθευτές προϊόντων από την Κίνα και το Βιετνάμ. Η Επιτροπή οφείλει να οργανώσει τη θεσμική της επίθεση. Επίθεση συστημικής σύγκλισης, αποτελεσματικής προστασίας της πνευματικής και βιομηχανικής ιδιοκτησίας, επίθεση κατά του οικολογικού και κοινωνικού ντάμπινγκ, κατά αδιαφανών και αθέμιτων πρακτικών και κρατικών παρεμβάσεων. Διαφορετικά, η σώρευση εμπειριών παραβίασης των κανόνων του διεθνούς εμπορίου με εκ των υστέρων αντίδραση της Ένωσης, μπορεί να θέσει σε κίνδυνο την εμπιστοσύνη των ευρωπαίων πολιτών στη θεμελιώδη αρχή της απελευθέρωσης του παγκοσμίου εμπορικού συστήματος.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Kader Arif (PSE). – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, depuis la suppression du régime des quotas, l'an dernier, les importations en provenance de la Chine ont, cela a été évoqué, augmenté de manière spectaculaire: environ 500 %.

Ceci a de lourdes conséquences sur la compétitivité du secteur européen de la chaussure, qui, face à cette déferlante d'importations à très bas prix, connaît un nombre de faillites dramatique, sans compter les pertes d'emplois qui les accompagnent.

Par ailleurs, nos fournisseurs traditionnels, pays candidats et pays de la zone Euromed, ont été évincés du marché communautaire. La Commission reste muette à ce sujet et ne semble pas vouloir évaluer l'impact des dommages de cette libéralisation.

Suite à la plainte déposée par les acteurs de cette filière, vous avez ouvert une enquête antidumping. Ses résultats alarmants mettent au jour des preuves incontestables d'interventions étatiques et de pratiques de dumping social, avec un préjudice matériel pour nos industries.

Pour lutter contre cette distorsion des règles élémentaires du commerce international, vous nous proposez aujourd'hui des mesures. Je m'inquiète cependant de l'entrée en vigueur progressive de ces droits antidumping sur une période de cinq mois, un précédent qui me semble peu opportun, juridiquement contestable et non exempt d'effets pervers. Ces droits devraient permettre d'éliminer ou le dumping ou le préjudice. Or, les taux progressifs proposés ne répondent à aucune de ces deux conditions alternatives. Enfin, l'exclusion des chaussures pour enfants me paraît injustifiée et incompréhensible. Vos propositions pourraient, très vite, se révéler insuffisantes face à l'ampleur des préjudices subis par nos entreprises.

D'autres initiatives pour contrer ces pratiques commerciales déloyales pourraient être prises, par exemple la possibilité d'ouvrir une enquête dans le cadre du mécanisme de sauvegarde transitoire applicable aux importations chinoises, instrument qui a pour avantage d'être simple et efficace.

Si les États membres vous en faisaient la demande, la Commission envisagerait-elle d'y avoir recours? Est-il envisageable, Monsieur le Commissaire, de faire une évaluation de la mise en œuvre effective des règles commerciales de l'OMC par la Chine ainsi que du respect par celle-ci des pratiques commerciales équitables et loyales, à l'inverse des violations patentes du droit de l'OMC auxquelles elle se livre? Vos propositions ne sont ni fortes ni éclairées. Après le textile l'an dernier et la chaussure aujourd'hui, quels autres secteurs auront à subir, demain, ces pratiques déloyales?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giulietto Chiesa (ALDE). – Signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, l'esame della situazione italiana del settore delle calzature mi induce a chiedere una modifica sostanziale delle misure da lei proposte e in parte accettate dal governo italiano. L'Italia sta già pagando prezzi altissimi in termini di occupazione.

La mia è una richiesta non in nome del protezionismo, ma di un calcolo degli effetti sociali. Non si tratta di affermare o di negare la globalizzazione o il mercato, la sua analisi è teoricamente misurata e anche realistica. Si tratta di una questione di accenti: il sentiero fra il paradiso e l'inferno è stretto. Stretto come poter distinguere, come lei ha qui ripetuto, tra una dura concorrenza e una concorrenza sleale.

Mi baso sulle sue parole: Cina e Vietnam hanno violato le regole. Lei propone di reagire, ma le proporzioni del dumping sembrano assai superiori a quelle dei dazi che lei propone. Penso francamente che le sue misure debbano essere rinegoziate, cambiando sia i valori che i tempi, cioè applicazione immediata dei dazi, non tra qualche mese, e il loro innalzamento escludendo dall'esenzione daziaria le scarpe anche quelle di tipo staff. Altrimenti non si difenderanno né i produttori né i consumatori europei, né si renderà un buon servizio al mercato.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Patrick Louis (IND/DEM). – Monsieur le Président, à Romans, dans la Drôme, le taux de chômage est de 18% − le double de la moyenne française − car le secteur de la chaussure y est sinistré et les savoir-faire ancestraux partent. Cette faillite provient de l'application anachronique du modèle ricardien qui fonde votre politique. La nouvelle division internationale du travail a poussé les pays à bas salaires à se spécialiser dans les industries de main-d'œuvre, quand les pays à haute épargne se concentrent sur les industries très capitalistiques.

Aujourd'hui le capital, assoiffé de croissance, part également dans ces pays. Ainsi, les pays de l'Union, qui avaient une haute productivité et de hauts salaires, sont terrassés par des pays à productivité égale et à bas salaires.

Pour que l'issue ne soit pas fatale, il faut relire le libéral Maurice Allais, il faut redécouvrir les vertus de feu le tarif extérieur commun, il faut se protéger à l'extérieur pour être libre à l'intérieur de l'Union. Sans cela, toutes nos industries de main-d'œuvre suivront le pas de l'industrie de la chaussure.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christofer Fjellner (PPE-DE). – Herr kommissionär! Unionens historia när det gäller antidumpning förskräcker. Välorganiserade särintressen tillåts gång på gång genom tullar söka små vinster som blir till stora kostnader för konsumenterna.

När kommissionen introducerade tullar på tv-apparater fick konsumenterna betala två kronor för varje krona som industrin tjänade. Vid tullarna på pakistanska sänglinnen gav varje krona för producenterna våra konsumenter en kostnad på tre kronor. I fallet med den norska laxen var det ännu värre: där kostade varje krona som laxproducenterna tjänade konsumenterna hela 70 kronor. Kommissionen missar konsekvent att ta tillräcklig hänsyn till konsumenterna och därmed gemenskapsintresset.

Nu är man på väg att göra om samma misstag en gång till – när det gäller skor från Kina och Vietnam – men den här gången vet vi på förhand priset för politiken. Danska regeringen gjorde en studie som visade att kostnaderna för konsumenterna i unionen är åtta gånger större än vinsterna för producenterna, och totalt förlorar unionen över två och en halv miljard kronor.

För Sverige är siffran ännu läskigare. Varje krona svenska producenter tjänar kostar de svenska konsumenterna 44 kronor. Totalt ska de svenska konsumenterna räkna med att betala nästan 60 miljoner mer för sina skor. Det enda land i unionen där det beräknas vara en vinstaffär är Slovakien. Där beräknas man tjäna 300 000 kronor. Det blir billigare om vi här i Europaparlamentet skramlar ihop pengarna, så slipper medborgarna pålagan.

Ärligt talat tror jag inte att detta är ett misstag. Kommissionen har trots allt medvetet valt att jämföra med dyra skor från Brasilien, mätt importökningen innan kvoten avskaffats med den efter att kvoten avskaffats. Man har inte gett en enda fabrik marknadsekonomisk status, trots att man erkänner att de köper läder och arbetskraft marknadsmässigt. Jag är allvarligt oroad över den tilltagande protektionism som jag möter i unionen och jag hoppas att detta är sista gången kommissionen ger vika för protektionisternas krav på bekostnad av medborgarna.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Joan Calabuig Rull (PSE). – Señor Presidente, el sector europeo del calzado vive una situación de dificultad por dos cuestiones: por un lado, está soportando prácticas desleales, y, por otro, todavía se encuentra, señor Comisario, con dificultades arancelarias y otras barreras en la práctica a la hora de acceder a mercados de terceros países.

Creo que todo esto hace necesaria una acción eficaz frente al dumping, que permita reaccionar de forma justa, pero a la vez ágil, de manera que evitemos, como ha sucedido con el textil, que, entre que se toman medidas y no se toman, se produzcan movimientos especulativos y promovamos al final un aumento mayor de las importaciones.

La propuesta de la Comisión sobre el procedimiento antidumping relativo al calzado originario de China y Vietnam es una expresión razonable y equilibrada, pero contiene elementos sorprendentes que mucha gente no puede entender, como es la exclusión de las medidas que usted ha propuesto del calzado infantil, que, como usted sabe, no es en muchos casos utilizado sólo por los niños, y también del calzado deportivo de tecnología especial (STAF).

Si existe dumping, habrá que imponer los derechos que sean efectivos para garantizar unas condiciones de competencia justas y, en ese sentido, el nivel de los derechos y su aplicación práctica deberían basarse en su efectividad, es decir, en la eliminación efectiva del dumping.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Daniel Caspary (PPE-DE). – Herr Präsident, geschätzter Herr Kommissar! Es fehlt uns eine Strategie, wie sich die Europäische Union der Globalisierung stellt. Wir haben jetzt den Globalisierungsfonds für die Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Aber welche Lösungen haben wir für die Zukunft? Meine erste Reaktion auf diesen Fall war: Wir haben es mit Protektionismus wie beim Thema „Textil“ zu tun. Das wäre schlecht, denn wir brauchen den freien und fairen Marktzugang weltweit. Er ist wichtig für unsere Produzenten innerhalb der Europäischen Union. Und es ist wichtig, dass wir als Europäische Union die Regeln einhalten, denn wir verlangen das von den anderen Handelspartnern auch.

Nachdem ich mehr Informationen bekommen hatte, wurde mir klar, dass es kein Protektionismus, sondern Dumping ist. Und mir wurde klar, dass die Maßnahmen, die Sie ergreifen, technisch viel besser angelegt sind als damals bei den Textilien. Aber mir wurde ebenfalls klar, dass unsere Maßnahmen wieder inkonsequent sind, und Inkonsequenz wird uns von den Chinesen als Schwäche ausgelegt werden. Warum wir die Sportschuhe aus dem Verfahren ausgeschlossen haben, macht noch Sinn. Aber warum nehmen wir die Kinderschuhe aus? Entweder es ist Dumping oder nicht.

Mit den Auswirkungen auf die Verbraucher bei den Kinderschuhen zu argumentieren, macht aus meiner Sicht überhaupt keinen Sinn, denn von den Importpreissenkungen der letzten Jahre haben die Verbraucher überhaupt nicht profitiert. Und wenn man sich anschaut, dass bei einem Importpreis von 6,50 Euro der gleiche Schuh im Endpreis 120 Euro kosten kann, dann wird deutlich, dass auch die angeblichen Preissteigerungen von 20 %, vor denen die Importeure warnen, vollkommen ungerechtfertigt sind.

Schauen wir uns das Thema „China“ an. Was sind die Ursachen des Dumpingfalls? Einerseits habe ich da große Unruhe. Die Unternehmen sind nicht in der Lage, sauber Buchhaltung zu führen oder für eine saubere Leitung zu sorgen. Das ist ein Teil der Begründung. Aber auf der anderen Seite mache ich mir auch große Sorgen über den immer größeren staatlichen Anteil am Dumping, über nicht gerechtfertigte Grundstückspreise, über Steuerermäßigungen für Exportunternehmen, faule Kredite der Banken, Rohstoffkosten, die subventioniert werden, und vieles anderes. Daher macht es einfach keinen Sinn, in diesem Zusammenhang China – wie es Teile der Kommission scheinbar wollen – den Markwirtschaftsstatus zuzuerkennen. Wir müssen auch hier konsequent bleiben.

Ich wünsche mir in Zukunft in all diesen Fällen mehr Konsequenz und ein besseres Einhalten der Regeln unsererseits.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elisa Ferreira (PSE). – Começo por apoiar a proposta de adopção de medidas anti-dumping no sector do calçado. Era o mínimo que temos de exigir porque o dumping destrói a essência e a razão de ser do comércio livre e a indústria europeia não pode morrer por apatia e cumplicidade com tais práticas.

Por falta de tempo, limito-me a dois comentários. Uma vez confirmado o dumping, não faz sentido que este continue a ser tolerado. Ora é isto que na prática vai acontecer com o gradualismo previsto para a aplicação das medidas anti-dumping. Este gradualismo não se justifica.

Segundo comentário: a exclusão do calçado infantil é absolutamente inaceitável. Ela não tem justificação, não tem base legal nem qualquer suporte técnico. Manter esta, assim como outras exclusões injustificadas, compromete totalmente a credibilidade destas medidas. Solicito, pois, veementemente, a reponderação destes aspectos.

Por último, é vital que a Comissão saia de uma posição permanentemente reactiva e comece a apresentar resultados concretos na sua prioridade política de abertura a mercados terceiros para as exportações de calçado europeu nomeadamente, e em particular, os mercados do Japão, os mecanismos de acesso ao mercado da Rússia e a abertura da própria China.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Syed Kamall (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I wish to begin by thanking the Commission for learning from its past experience. I am glad the decision has been taken not to impose quotas on import issues since this would have been disastrous for the whole supply chain and for consumers, and I think we all agree on that.

However, we need to ask in whose interests these anti-dumping duties are being imposed. I cannot see how consumers will benefit. Whether we like it or not, European citizens are voting with their wallets and buying imported footwear. Imposing duties could punish consumers by increasing the price they pay for their footwear.

I agree that some of the predicted price rises may be alarmist, but there will be price rises. We are told that a 20% duty on the import price of shoes should not lead to a large increase in the retail price. Retailers and others in the supply chain are expected to absorb the duties. However, in this day and age I am astounded that the Commission believes that it knows best how retailers and shoe companies should run their businesses and how much they should be charging their customers. What has happened to the laws of supply and demand between sellers and European citizens and consumers?

If the Commission truly feels that retailers are making too high a margin on shoes, then it should launch an investigation into the competitiveness of the shoe industry, not punish retailers and the supply chain by using the blunt instrument of anti-dumping duties. Is pushing up the prices of shoes from China and Vietnam really going to help European producers, or will it simply force retailers to source their shoes from other non-EU markets, such as India?

Finally, can we really take the high ground and complain about the Chinese Government subsidising the footwear industry when we spend so much of our EU budget on subsidising inefficient farmers? Let us in the EU throw away the post-war protectionist model and take a lead in embracing globalisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pia Elda Locatelli (PSE). – Signor Presidente, signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, vorrei solo dire che ha l'impressione di occuparmi di un guscio ormai vuoto. Sono state escluse le scarpe sportive, ma come si definiscono le scarpe sportive? Sono state escluse le scarpe da bambino che io e molte, molte altre donne, portiamo ancora senza essere più bambine da molti anni.

L'applicazione delle misure anti-dumping è avvenuta con una gradualità che non si era mai vista prima, soprattutto si propongono dazi anti-dumping che non servono a fronteggiare una situazione di concorrenza sleale che la Commissione stessa definisce grave.

E allora le chiedo: Non crede che dietro la difesa dei consumatori, in particolare delle famiglie più povere, come lei ha scritto su Le Figaro di domenica, ci sia anche o forse soprattutto, non saprei, il tentativo di salvaguardare gli interessi delle multinazionali?

Non crede che la politica, che io a volte valuto ambigua, della Commissione possa mettere in pericolo lo strumento importante, per non dire unico, della politica commerciale europea?

Vorrei, infine, che lei commentasse quello che sta succedendo nel caso della biancheria da letto perché, anche in questo caso, non si capisce bene l'azione della Commissione.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission. Mr President, if you do not mind I shall not go along the course of answering the point about bed linen at this precise moment. In the time I have available I think it would be better to stick to shoes, but I can assure you that the question of any anti-dumping duty on bed linen will be properly assessed and properly applied as, in my opinion, it is at the moment.

I think that the value of debates such as this and the important role of this Parliament are demonstrated by the very important and insightful observations that have been made during the last 45 minutes. My role on behalf of the Commission is to listen to what honourable Members have to say and to reflect very carefully on the points and arguments that have been raised. I can assure you I will reflect on them and on the observations made by Member States so that when I come back to the Commission with final recommendations I will be able to do so having heard the variety, diversity and range of different points and arguments that have been made.

However, having heard so many people this afternoon complain that my intervention is protectionist, unnecessary and unjustified, alongside a slightly greater number of Members of this House who have complained that I am not going far enough, my actions are inadequate and that I should go further, I am tempted to make the easy observation that perhaps I have got the measures just about right between those two rival points of view! However, tempting as it is to make that rather cheap observation, I am going to avoid doing so.

I should like to say, though, that I agree particularly with Mr Papastamkos and Mrs Saïfi, both of whom see the need to intervene against anti-competitive and trade-distorting behaviour by our partners, but at the same time to do so with a degree of perspective and balance that I think it behoves me to uphold. I think Mr Assis is right in that, in the provisional measures that are introduced, it is important that we maintain careful monitoring and surveillance of the effect of what we are doing so as to ensure that, if there is circumvention of our duties, we are able to review the situation and perhaps take revised action when we come to the definitive stage of our measures later this year.

Let me very quickly respond to some of the other points that have been made.

Some have drawn a parallel between the proposed action on shoes and the action that we took on textiles. They are very different cases. In the case of textiles, we were dealing with fairly-traded goods, albeit subject to a dramatic and sudden increase in volume following the lifting of quotas on Chinese textiles at the beginning of 2005. We therefore took a safeguard measure by the introduction of quotas, as we are entitled to do. We were not, as in this case, dealing with anti-competitive measures – dumping actions – that attract an anti-dumping measure in the form of a tariff duty – not a quota and not a physical limit. Therefore I do not anticipate our running into the temporary teething problems that we had in the case of textiles. This should be remembered by those who describe the textile period as involving us in some sort of war or battle with China. Far from it. We were able to agree with China the measures that we took, in a very unwarlike way.

Two other points were raised by a number of Members. One concerns the impact on consumer prices. Let us put this case into perspective. It concerns only nine pairs of shoes from every 100 pairs bought by European consumers; in other words, a fraction of the product range. A duty would be just over EUR 1.50 on average wholesale prices of EUR 8.50 on shoes which then sell for between EUR 40 and EUR 120, as opposed to a duty which would simply amount to EUR 1.50. Please do not tell me that EUR 1.50 cannot be absorbed across the supply chain by importers and retailers, especially importers and retailers who have benefited from low import prices from China and Vietnam but who have not passed on the effects of those cheaper import prices to consumers – a question that consumers may put to their retailers if they are able to encounter them at some stage in the future.

A number of Members have asked me why I am proposing to exclude sports technology shoes and children’s shoes. In the case of the sports shoes, these are excluded from the investigation because they are not produced in Europe in sufficient quantity to qualify as being potentially harmed by dumping. There is therefore no injury to European producers because they barely exist in the case of these sports shoes.

In the case of children’s shoes, the exclusion I am proposing is on the grounds of Community interest. Young children need three to four pairs of new shoes per year. The impact of a duty on the price of such shoes is therefore potentially greater than it is for ordinary shoes.

In my view, parents should not see any potential hurdles put in the way of buying good-quality shoes for their children. Those who want me to reclassify the customs segmentation for these shoes should bear in mind that the customs classification for children is up to size 37½ with heels less than 3cm. Whilst I am prepared to discuss that with my colleagues in TAXUD, it is a classification that I am given, not one that I propose.

Let me make just briefly one or two other quick observations. There was a suggestion that the investigation had taken too long. This sampling takes time. I am obliged by the regulations that exist within the European Community to observe very strict procedures and use very strict reference countries and companies when I am investigating those of another country that does not enjoy market economy status.

Therefore, just as I cannot anticipate dumping complaints – some Members were complaining that I do not show enough foresight, as if I have a crystal ball before me that is going to reveal where the next dumping complaint is going to come from – I cannot pre-empt proper procedures and investigations that are laid out in our regulations and which I am obliged to follow in detail.

Let me reply to the suggestion that somehow there was a breach of confidentiality. I do not understand this. Member States received the Commission’s working document before my press conference on 23 February. The moment these working documents go out to Member States I can assure you that they are as good as published to the media. I therefore have to clarify them immediately and explain and justify what I am doing. This certainly does not deprive Member States of their right to express an opinion on the case or to receive detailed replies from the Commission’s services.

I shall leave the matter there, except to say in conclusion that it is very important that we see what is happening in China, Vietnam, India and other Asian countries in some perspective. Of course there is tough competition and there is a difficult challenge for European producers and manufacturers to rise to, and we have an obligation to do everything we can to help European producers rise to this challenge and to help those employed in companies adjust to the challenges and the new circumstances of international trade which we are experiencing. I do not believe that a proper and legitimate way of helping people to adjust to these new forces in the global economy is to encourage people to shelter from them or to pretend that, if we close our eyes or cover our heads with a blanket, these changes, challenges and new sources of competition will somehow go away and leave us alone so that we do not have to respond to them.

Any politician giving that sort of message to the public would be guilty of false leadership, and poor leadership to the public, who need to understand what is going on and help to respond to it. We cannot maintain the pretence that we in Europe, by retreating from the competitive challenge we are facing in the global economy, will somehow be able to hide from it and, at the same time, maintain our living standards and our prosperity in the future. We cannot and will not do that.

We have to respond to this challenge by putting the emphasis on our competitiveness, innovation and ability to respond to change and to compete more effectively in the future. If we do not rise to that challenge and do not set that out to our public, we cannot blame them subsequently for reacting with fear and mystification to what is taking place in the global economy.

(Applause)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. COCILOVO
Vicepresidente

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Erika Mann (PSE). – Mr President, I would like to ask the Commissioner if he could make a short comment on a question raised by many of our colleagues on granting market economy status to China.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission. Mr President, China is not yet qualified to receive recognition of market economy status by Europe. There are technical criteria that China needs to fulfil, and it is making progress towards doing so. Indeed we can, should and are giving every assistance to China to enable it more easily and rapidly to make the technical changes that will enable it to fulfil those criteria. It is important to do that.

Let me add this related comment. The environment in which Member States and Members of this House come to judge the market economy status of China will be helped and encouraged by China doing more than it is at the moment to open its markets to our exports and to others’ trade, to make sure that it is in full compliance with its WTO accession commitments, and to make sure that where it is taking longer than is reasonable to move towards full compliance with those commitments and WTO rules it makes the necessary changes sooner rather than later. If China were to do that, and to respond to the anxieties felt in Europe and around the world about the growth of its export capacity in a way that rebalanced the terms of trade – so that as well as people seeing goods coming in ever-growing numbers from China, they were also to see those containers being refilled and returned to China with European and other goods – it would do more than anything else to still public anxiety about what we are seeing in China. Understandably, people in Europe see the growth of China’s market as a threat, but we must understand it as a huge opportunity for us in Europe to sell our own goods and services to that market in future.

However, China has a responsibility to make sure that no artificial or unreasonable barriers remain in place to European goods and services being sold to the Chinese market in ever-growing numbers. When we get that equation right, then perhaps people will be able to look more sympathetically, as well as technically, at the issue of China’s market economy status.

(Applause)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Presidente. La discussione è chiusa.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 142)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alessandro Battilocchio (NI). – Apprezzo l'impegno della Commissione nell'ascoltare le istanze delle PMI europee preoccupate dall'incremento delle importazioni da paesi terzi, e l'ultima proposta di dazi compensativi antidumping sulle calzature in pelle contro Cina e Vietnam. Ritengo tuttavia le misure proposte ancora profondamente inadeguate alla gravità della questione. Inadeguati i dazi proposti, troppo bassi e quindi inefficaci. Inadeguata la gradualità temporale (6 mesi), procedura troppo debole per un caso cosi grave di dumping. Inaccettabili inoltre le esclusioni delle calzature sportive non professionali e quelle da bambini (in cui possono rientrare anche quelle femminili).

Ricordo inoltre che un’altra fondamentale richiesta, l’introduzione obbligatoria del marchio di origine per i prodotti in entrata nella UE, si trascina da 2 anni senza riuscire a trovare un accordo tra i Paesi Membri.

Occorre inoltre affrontare l'inquietante l'aumento delle "triangolazioni", ossia di movimenti anomali di prodotti con lo scopo di aggirare controlli doganali più stringenti (le importazioni dal Belgio sono aumentate del 17,8% in quantità, cosa assolutamente inspiegabile). Gli appelli della Commissione al bisogno di cambiamento innovazione sono ragionevoli ed interessanti, ma hanno un senso soltanto in un ambiente competitivo realmente equo e leale, e la Commissione ha il dovere di vegliare che il mercato internazionale sia tale.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Glyn Ford (PSE). – I want to raise with the Commissioner the plight of a factory in my constituency – 'Dickies' in Midsomer Norton, near Radstock in Somerset – whose future and workforce are threatened by any adverse outcome from your services' current investigation of an anti-dumping complaint regarding protective footwear imported from China.

I have met with representatives of both management and the workforce, including trade union representatives from GMB, and they are united in stating that jobs and livelihoods are at stake should the Commission impose anti-dumping duties on this particular sector. The imported footwear from China underpins the distribution and manufacturing sections in the Midsomer Norton plant. Those who introduced the complaint do not manufacture generally in Europe, but source form other third countries rather than China. I believe the investigation will find that no damage has been done to European industry by these imports from China and in fact the plants concerned, most of which have applied for market economy status, have not engaged in dumping. Stop this threatened tax on protection, relieve people's understandable concerns and close the file as soon as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL). – É preocupante a situação do sector do calçado, nomeadamente em Portugal.

Apenas como exemplo, dezenas de empresas do Distrito de Aveiro encerraram ou diminuíram o número de trabalhadores durante 2005, como acontece na Ecco ou na Rhode. Aumenta o desemprego e o risco de pobreza, sendo de recordar o encerramento da empresa C&J Clarks, em Castelo de Paiva, e as promessas de apoio, de formação e de subsídios aos trabalhadores, que dois anos depois se encontram entregues à sua sorte.

Mais uma vez se torna necessário denunciar que:

- Com o vertiginoso aumento das importações de calçado de países terceiros, não foram os denominados consumidores que se viram desafogados nas suas bolsas, mas os grandes retalhistas e distribuidores que acumularam fabulosos lucros;

- A responsabilidade pelo encerramento de empresas e perda de postos de trabalho não é de países terceiros, mas da União Europeia que é a primeira a promover a concorrência e a liberalização do comércio internacional e que mantém um valor do Euro que prejudica os sectores produtivos e exportadores, como o do calçado.

Com esta política perdem os trabalhadores, perdem as pequenas, médias e micro empresas, perdem países, como Portugal - aliás como estudos e, mais importante, a realidade comprova.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (PSE). – It is clear that the EU is facing new competitive challenges on the world market, challenges which cause anxiety and uncertainty for our industry, our workers and our consumers. Yet as we adjust to the new global environment we must avoid the populist appeal of protectionist measures which are at best a short-term panacea for long-term ills.

In this instance, however, it appears that there has been a well-documented case of dumping and injury to the European industry. Whilst I fear that some EU companies with good employment standards and interests in the Far East (for example Clarks shoes) will be hit by these measures, I am pleased to see certain exemptions to the punitive tariff proposed by the Commission have been obtained, namely in the sensitive children’s footwear sector.

On balance I think that the Commission has hit the right note here. I am inclined to agree with the Commissioner when he states that consumers should be more concerned about the mark-up enjoyed until now by retailers on goods produced cheaply in poor employment and environmental conditions and then sold below the cost of production. Our partners must now address these social and employment issues, issues which we ourselves have faced and dedicated much time and effort to overcoming jointly through the European project.

 
Informacja prawna - Polityka ochrony prywatności