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EU set to extend dumping duties on Asian shoes

European Union anti-dumping duties on shoes from China and Vietnam are set to be extended into 2009 or longer, rather than expire in October as originally scheduled, people familiar with the situation said on Monday.

In a controversial case in 2006, the leather shoe duties were introduced for two years, despite opposition from the Asian countries, some EU governments and leading international footwear companies that make shoes in China and Vietnam.

The European Commission now plans to review whether the duties should be introduced for a second period or dropped after Italian shoemakers earlier this year formally asked for them to be renewed, people familiar with the case said. A review may last as long as 15 months, during which time the duties remain in place. The duties stand at 16.5% for leather shoes from China and 10% for Vietnam.

Normally, EU anti-dumping dissent last five years but the shoes case created so much controversy, with EU countries split down the middle on whether they were justified or merely protectionist, that a two-year compromise was approved instead.

Critics of the decision said at the time that the possibility of an expiry review meant the duties were likely to be in place for more than three years. Trade experts from EU member states are due to discuss the Commission’s plan for a review on Sept. 17 but have no power to block it, the people familiar with the case said. (Reuters)