Shoe producers in the Czech Republic on Thursday called on the government to launch a high-profile crackdown on untaxed shoe imports amid fears the floodgates could open further when it joins the EU.

Czech Footwear Association chiefs made their plea as they published figures which claim such imports cost customs chiefs around $2 billion a year in unpaid duty.

Officials say domestic shoe production fell 15 per cent last year to 11 million pairs while imports soared to 46 million pairs - of which 70 per cent came from China - versus 36 million pairs in 2001.