Move (pronounced as in mohvey), a Brazilian sporting goods industry association formed in September 2010, is attracting new members and developing many new initiatives since the appointment of its first full-time secretary general, Andre Raduan, a few months ago.
The association, which belongs to the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, was established by a nucleus of major sports brands and companies as a lobby intended to avoid the imposition of anti-dumping duties on shoes from China, but it failed in this initial effort. While it continues to monitor the Brazilian government's action in this domain, it has shifted its focus to the development of a “positive agenda” of actions intended to protect Brazilian consumers in several ways.
This more consumer-friendly approach has attracted more companies to Move. Paquetá, a major sporting goods retailer, and SPR, a large and growing chain of fan football shops, have joined the group in the last couple of months, and discussions are being held with other major local players. Paquetá is expanding its network of sporting goods stores, as reported in an article in the retail section of our News Briefs. It is also a large OEM manufacturer of sports shoes for Adidas and other brands. SPR has become the Brazilian licensee of Kappa and Le Coq Sportif.
Originally, Move consisted only of companies that were criticizing the planned anti-dumping duties on Chinese footwear, such as Adidas, Nike, Asics, Skechers, Alpargatas or Cambuci, the Brazilian marketer of the Penalty brand of sports products. They were and still are represented through the association's first two committees – one dealing with foreign trade and the other with government affairs.
The new initiatives of the association are being carried out by four new committees that have been established in the last few months – one on sustainability, one on technical certification and labelling, and one for the fight against counterfeiting, plus a legal committee that is trying to establish a specific customs code for technical sports shoes.
The legal committee is working with a government agency and a laboratory on the development of a certifiable label for performance shoes that can help consumers to distinguish them from vulcanized sneakers and many other types of sports-inspired casual shoes.
Officials of Move are refraining from any statements with regard to any of the pending trade issues. However, observers feel that this kind of action may help importers to get an exception to the current anti-dumping duties, similar to the “technical carve-out” that the European sporting goods industry federation, Fesi, obtained many years ago for technical athletic shoes from the trade restrictions imposed by the European Union on other types of shoes.
Observers also believe that public authorities should take Move's positive consumer-oriented attitude into account when they are asked to protect Brazilian manufacturers from allegedly unfair foreign competition, leading to a less protectionist stance in the longer term. As widely illustrated in our recently issued report on the Brazilian sports market, high import duties on a wide variety of products have inflated prices of sporting goods made abroad up to twice the levels charged in other countries, encouraging the wealthier consumers to buy them when they travel abroad.
In any case, the Brazilian government has not taken any new action against imports of sports-related products for some time. There has been no reaction so far from the Brazilian government to a request made last Aug. 23 by Abit, the Brazilian association of textile and clothing manufacturers, for safeguard measures on 60 textile products that represent 82 percent of all the clothing imported into the country (SGI Europe of Sept. 19, 2012).
Also, a few days ago, the government told Abicalçados, the Brazilian shoe industry association, that it could not do anything based on the rules of the World Trade Organization to prevent shipments of shoes from Taiwan, even though they and their packaging are made with components originating in China. Reportedly, the shoes were mostly athletic footwear models assembled by Pou Chen in Taiwan. Thy have been in the market since last autumn. Abicalçados claimed that they were a form of circumvention of the Brazilian anti-dumping shoes on shoes and components originating in China.