European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has hinted at gentler treatment of Chinese shoe manufacturers likely to be hit by anti-dumping levies, according to reports.

In a private meeting with Commerce Minister Bo Xilai while visiting China, Mandelson is reported to have promised to make active efforts to ensure that properly qualified manufacturers would get fair market economy treatment.

Bo said he believed that the EU had acted hastily in overruling the market economy status of Chinese shoe manufacturers, imposing provisional anti-dumping levies on all alike.

"It's not only against the anti-dumping protocol of the World Trade Organisation, but also against the laws of the European Union," he said. "China requires EU to make a fair and just final judgement to the Chinese shoe-making firms involved."

China's Commerce Ministry said that Mandelson had promised to give serious consideration to the Chinese government's request.