The European Commission has been accused of showing "a certain desperation" to maintain anti-dumping levies against footwear imports from China and Vietnam.

The Foreign Trade Association (FTA), which represents importers and retailers, has filed what it described as a "substantial" response to the Commission's 80-page General Disclosure Document on the matter.

"When I first read it through, I quickly realised that it was full of generalised and unsubstantiated statements that showed a certain desperation to ensure that the duties continued," said Stuart Newman, the FTA's legal advisor.

"A closer look showed that there were also contradictions and inaccurate statements."

The FTA also said that the Commission had attracted criticism for sending an additional document to Member States which, according to some, was an "obvious" attempt to secure their vote to continue the levies.

FTA secretary general Jan Eggert reiterated that there was no reason for the duties should continue for any length of time, arguing that the EU footwear industry was now renowned for high-cost products unaffected by low-cost Asian imports.

Member states will decide later this year whether to back the Commission's recommended 15-month extension of the anti-dumping levies, which originally began in 2006 and were extended pending a review last year.