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Mandy's Cobblers

Letters to the Editor The Times Sunday Times Times Online

Sir, The problem with dumped shoes from China and Vietnam is not that they threaten tough competition for European shoe producers, but that they constitute unfair competition ....Anti-dumping measures never take the form of a quota (another misunderstanding): they add a small tariff to the cost of imports to correct price distortion. The impact on consumer prices will be minimal because an import duty of less than 1 on shoes that retail for 30 to 90 can be absorbed across the supply chain.

European Trade Commissioner

So what he is saying is that the duty he is adding is so small it will make no difference, er, so why is he doing it? Or is it that he just talking cobblers?


If I read this right, our little yellow chums are selling cheap shoes to european traders. Mandy thinks that they are doing this below cost in some fiendish plot to destroy the european shoe industry and make us all dependent on size three plimsoles in a few years time.

But if this is to work, the footwear Fu Manchus must be selling to as many traders as possible. Now these footwear traders are all in competition with each other; trying to make a quick buck before the shoe bubble bursts. Therefore they will be selling their goods on at the lowest possible price in order to undercut the competition. Now if their margins are as low as possible in order for them to steal the march on their rivals, where the phuque are they going to find the "slack" in the supply chain to absorb any tarriff?

Even this dim mining engineer knows:


So if the profit is as low as it can go without the traders the only thing that can be changed is the revenue which is a function of the price the customer pays.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I can only conclude that Mr Mandleson is either telling porkies or he hasn't got a bloody clue. Neither would surprise me, but they are hardly qualities one would wish to see displayed so obviously in our so-called leaders.

Rope, tree, eu apparatchik. Some assemby required.


I'm a dumping cynic - get that out of the way from the off - so am particularly puzzled by this. Perhaps he could explain to us exactly what the "price distortion" is?

What he won't say but should is that we'd be getting shoes we want to buy at a price what he's decided we ought to pay.

Ahhh, Edward, you forget. We are all terminally stupid and thus that nice Mr Mandleson must protect us from our own silliness.

If we buy cheap shoes from the Chinese men european shoe makers will go bankrupt. Then with the competition out of the way, those evil oriental fellows will hold us to ransom; making us pay thousands of euros for every pair of size three plastic plimsoles. He's protecting us.

Of course the stupid twat hasn't realised that there are still millions of potential cobbling entrepreneurs from Suez to Mandalay who would happily step in and start competing with the Chinese if this ever came to pass. All he's worried about is those Italian and Spanish cobblers taking a leaf out of the Iraqis' book by hitting his effigy with sandals. That or the backhanders he's getting.


Well, quite Remittance Man. Yet is he quite so keen to take action on the big issues, where we might be held to ransom?

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