The Italian Almanac


Italian News - June 9

When imported Chinese shoes cost less than the leather Italians need to make a pair of loafers, you know one of the country's historic industries is in trouble. So Italian footwear makers are demanding the European Union slap quotas on Chinese imports or at least levy import duties on the millions of shoes and slippers flooding the continent since trade barriers dropped at the start of this year.

Chinese shoe imports to Italy soared 300 percent in the first quarter of 2005 and have showed no sign of letting up since, Soana said. At the same time, prices are dropping. The flood of imports cost the Italian leather sector, seen from abroad as one of the bright spots in the country's industry, about 8,000 jobs last year and would likely knock the same number of people out of work in 2005.