European Union (EU) ministers have extended definitive anti-dumping duties on leather upper footwear exported from China to similar products sold from Macao, following concerns about illicit trade diversion.

Investigations by the European Commission had showed that after duties ranging from 9.7% to 16.5% were imposed in 2006 on mainland Chinese exports, there was a huge boom in cut-priced exports of leather upper footwear from Macao.

A Commission proposal approved by the EU Council of Ministers said: "Bearing in mind that the population of the Macao SAR numbered only around 0.5m persons during [an investigation], it cannot be claimed that the 4.5m pairs of shoes imported from the PRC in 2006 could be consumed in Macao.

"On the contrary, the export statistics show that a large proportion of such footwear was re-exported to the EU.

"Also, as a result, the protection given to EU shoe manufacturers from these Chinese duties was "being undermined"."

By Keith Nuthall.