Assocalzaturifici is lobbying intensely to prevent the World Trade Organization granting market economy status to China, unless the Asian giant starts producing shoes in compliance with the same quality, environmental and safety standards as those that are applied in Italy. A decision is due to be taken toward the end of this year. Meanwhile, the Italian footwear industry is looking for further expansion in areas like the U.S., the Middle East, South Korea and South America. Last December, Assocalzaturifici conducted an encouraging exploratory mission in Iran, where the recent abolition of trade sanctions are opening new prospects for market penetration.