Nearly half of the Netherlands' shoe imports last year were from China, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

CBS said the Netherlands imported 157m pairs of shoes last year and 75m of those were made in China.

Asia as a whole accounted for nearly two-thirds of all shoe imports.

China's share in total Dutch shoe imports rose from 24% to 48% between 2000 and 2005, while the share of EU-made shoes fell from 42% to 32%.

The number of imported shoes from China was 3.5% higher in 2005 than in 2004. On the other hand, imports from the overall Asian region fell last year fell 9%.

After China, Vietnam is the second largest shoe supplier, exporting about 12m pairs to the Netherlands in 2005 - 3m pairs fewer than in 2004.

Total Netherlands shoe exports jumped 11% last year to 98m pairs.

Nearly all of those exports went EU countries, mainly Germany, Belgium and the UK.