H.E Peter Mandelson
The Directorate-General for Trade
Rue de la Loi 200
B-1049 – Bruxelles
Hanoi, February 28th 2006
Dear Trade Commissioner
We, the Vietnam Women’s Union, write this letter to express our grave concern over the on-going antidumping case against Vietnamese shoes with leather upper initiated by the EC. This lawsuit threats to cause serious damage to Vietnam’s footwear industry and to the development of Vietnam’s economy as the whole, which has been being appreciably encouraged and supported by the EU over the years. Especially, the antidumping case may well harm feminine labors in footwear industry and result in negative social consequences. We hope that the honorable Commissioner could share with the entire 13 million members of the Vietnam Women’s Union upon this concern and encourage efforts for the development and gender equality of women in Vietnam.
In the last months, the lawsuit has resulted in severe consequences to the Vietnam’s footwear industry, which then has serious impact on the livelihood of industrial labors. The footwear industry is an industry that uses a large amount of labor, creating job for over 500,000 labors, of which feminine labors, not including those working in other related industries, account for 80 percent. In many enterprises, even feminine account for 95 – 98 percent of the total. A majority of them come from rural areas, poor provinces in the country. These labors may well be categorized under a group of underprivileged, less education, low income, while usually they have to undertake heavy and time-consuming jobs in production lines. With an average income per capita of under $50 per month, the livelihood of such feminine labors and their families depends much upon the business performance of enterprises that they are working for.
Currently, though the case is under investigation, Vietnamese enterprises have had to suffer great damage, reflected through a notable decline in amount of orders from their oversea trading partners in 2006. Even some foreign invested companies are now thinking of moving their production facilities out of Vietnam. Therefore, in addition to the substantial decline in income, Vietnamese feminine workers have to suffer much more from job-losing likelihood mentally. As footwear exports to the EU made up of 70 percent of the total footwear exports, of which 60 percent being subject to the investigation, the imposition of antidumping measures against Vietnamese footwear exports shall result in dismissal of a huge number of workers and influence directly upon the interest of feminine labors in the industry. Currently in our country’s circumstance, re-education and reallocation of jobs for these labor forces shall encounter massive difficulty, and burden the society.
In the recent years, Vietnam has excised much effort in hunger eradication and poverty reduction program and recorded an achievement recognized by the UN that is poverty proportion has decreased more than 30% in the last decade due to a high consecutive growth rate. Against that background, activities by the whole society in general and the Vietnam Women’s Union in particular to enhance the role of Vietnamese women and to ensure a gender equality also have resulted in good achievements. Consequences caused by the EC anti-dumping investigation will remarkably reduce living quality of women laborers in leather shoe industry as well as their children and families. The investigation will also partially hamper current development and social improvement programs sponsored by EU.
We, therefore, hope that you will sympathize with and support us in the anti-dumping investigation against shoes with leather uppers imported from Vietnam. We propose that you will persuade the Community to pay more attention to women laborers in Vietnam to review the investigation in an equal and proper manner. We believe that your support will improve the image of EU in the hearts of the Vietnamese people.
Ha Thi Khiet
President of Vietnam Women’s Union
Chairwoman of The National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Vietnam
- H.E Jose Manuel Barroso – European Commission President
- H.E Truong Dinh Tuyen – Vietnam Trade Minister
- The Delegation of European Commission to Vietnam