A recently formed group of major athletic footwear companies filed a formal document with the Brazilian government a few days ago, opposing a request by Abicalçados, the Brazilian shoe industry association, to extend its anti-dumping measures against China to Indonesia, Vietnam and possibly other countries.

In addition to the regular import duty of 35 percent on all kinds of footwear imported into Brazil, shoes imported from China have been subject to an additional flat anti-dumping duty of US$13.85 per pair, regardless of their declared value at customs, since March 2010.

Abicalçados has been claiming that Brazilian importers are circumventing the measures by bringing in products made in China through other countries.

Last Oct. 4, the Brazilian government announced its decision to investigate the imports of shoes and components from China, as well as shoes from Vietnam and Indonesia, made between July 2010 and 2011, after the duties were imposed. As a result, these products can enter the country only after the Brazilian government decides to issue an import license within 60 days.

Abicalçados quoted Foreign Trade Secretary Tatiana Lacerda dos Prazeres, who signed the document authorizing the investigation by a specialized government agency, Secex, as saying that there was sufficient evidence of trade practices that frustrated the application of the anti-dumping duties on footwear originating in China.

The new legal challenges have been filed by Move, an association that represents two Brazilian shoe companies, Alpargatas and Penalty, and some major foreign players such as the Adidas Group, Asics, New Balance, Nike and Skechers.

Alpargatas, parent company of Havaianas, has its own brands of athletic footwear, Rainha and Topper, and is the exclusive importer of Mizuno and Timberland in Brazil. Penalty is a major Brazilian producer of football boots. Reebok International is a member of Move even though it has a management contract with Vulcabras, Reebok's former Brazilian licensee, which has been in the forefront of the campaign for the introduction of the Brazilian anti-dumping duties.

Move was formed in September 2010, after the Brazilian duties were instituted. Its executive director is Gumercindo C.A. Moraes Neto, an experienced Brazilian consultant who has held leading positions with Alpargatas, Nike, Bata, Asics and Olympikus.

He is a member of the trade committee of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), which is following the Brazilian case closely. WFSGI has already signed up with Secex as an interested party in the issue.