As, part of its plan to protect domestic industry, the Mexican government has decided to restrict temporarily the entry of Chinese footwear as it has observed a 'significant and sudden' increase in imports, reports from that country say
Federal authorities have signed an agreement with the states of Guanajuato and Jalisco - home to about 85 per cent of Mexican footwear production - that stipulates that imports will be monitored 'periodically and with the least backlog possible'.
The economy ministry said in a statement that when the sector observes a 'significant and sudden' increase in Chinese imports, it 'will use its tools and the industry's valuable and indispensable information to temporarily restrict imports'.
Likewise, the government may impose a 'provisional safeguard measure' 20 days after launching a probe into Chinese imports if 'critical circumstances arise', the statement added.
For its part, Guanajuato state's Footwear Industry Chamber said in a statement that 'unfair competition from China' leaves Mexican industry at a 'clear disadvantage'.
Between 2000 and 2010, Chinese footwear imports grew '475 per cent and thus far in 2011 have risen 32 per cent', according to the industry group.
If that trend continues, between 2011 and 2015 'production will fall by 51 percent' and nearly half the 111,000 jobs in the sector will disappear, the chamber said.
The government has also simplified the requirements for launching an investigation into unfair trade practices.
Although Mexican quotas on about 750 Chinese-imported products expired in 2008, the two countries signed an agreement that same year establishing a transition period for some particularly sensitive imported goods.
That accord gave Mexican industrial sectors until December 2011 to prepare for the elimination of compensatory quotas for products such as textiles, apparel, footwear, toys, bicycles, strollers, tools, appliances, electrical machines and apparatuses, lighters, pencils, valves, ballasts (components in fluorescent lamps), locks, candles and other items.
Mexico's footwear industry, primarily based in Leon, a city in the central state of Guanajuato, has expressed the most concern over the imminent end to the quotas. China is Mexico's second-biggest trade partner.
According to reports, imports from China to Mexico in 2010 were valued at $45.6 billion, while exports amounted to only $4.2 billion.