Thursday, June 01, 2006

EU Duties Would Have a Serious Impact on the Livelihoods of Nearly One Million Workers in Vietnam

BRUSSELS - June 1 - The European Commission should reconsider the imposition of anti-dumping duty and ensure that Vietnamese footwear workers are not the ones paying the price of mounting trade dispute, ActionAid said today.

A new report of the international development NGO reveals the impact that the EU sanctions would have on one million people in Vietnam, living on just around €1 a day.

The research on the “Impact of anti-dumping proceeding by EC on Vietnam footwear industry” has been conducted by ActionAid Vietnam and the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association(LEFASO).

It was undertaken in the first half of May 2006 after the imposition by the European Commission of a provisonal anti-dumping duty of 4.2% on April 7, 2006.

The research report will be submitted to the European Commission in relation to a hearing on this case in Brussels on the 2nd June, together with a collective letter and more than 2,000 signatures of Vietnames footwear workers.

On the same day, the provisional anti-dumping duty will be doubled to 8.4%.

This imposition has been making a negative impact on production of Vietnam's footwear industry, which is the the country’s biggest export to EU with revenues of € 2.1 billion in 2005.

According to initial estimates, the new duty could put up to 500,000 workers in the local footwear industry and a large number of employees in related industries out of work.

“From our point of view, fighting against poverty by ensuring the livelihood of the most excluded people, we consider this proceeding unfair as it is harming vulnerable workers’. That’s why we decided to do this research to bring the workers’ voice to the EC.” – said Mr. Phan Van Ngoc, Country Director of ActionAid Vietnam.

According to LEFASO, the number of orders fell rapidly right after the proceeding began in July 2005 and several orders have not been confirmed for the year 2006. As a consequence, a lot of shoe-makers reduced their production and released part of their labour force.

“Due to lack of orders, we now have only 20 working days per month instead of 26 days as normal, which means our income is much lower.

“With just US$ 0.95-1.25 income per day, we spend US$ 0.3 for food, mainly cereals (rice, corn, sweet potato and cassava).

“We have tried several times to find odd jobs out of working time, but there is excess of labour supply while limited labour demand.

“We are just robbing Peter to pay Paul. We are really living from hand to mouth. It is impossible to know about tomorrow. Our only wish is to get a stable job at the factory as previously”, said Dang Thi Nhien, representative of the experienced employees in Haiphong Leather and Footwear Company.


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