The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industries (FESI) has urged EU member states to come to an agreement on anti-dumping measures on Chinese and Vietnamese shoes.

FESI said during a meeting of the Antidumping Committee in Brussels this week that progress was needed on discussions to re-establish certainty for economic operators and allow for continued growth of EU trade with China and Vietnam.

FESI believes a deferred duties system set up in agreement with the two Asian country's governments could mean a fairer deal for consumers, retailers and Europe's shoe industry than current punitive duties.

"However, such a system must be administered transparently and ensure predictability," FESI warns, "basing anti-dumping duty-free import volumes on historical trade flows of individual operators and allowing for substantial annual growth of these volumes during the lifetime of the measures".

FESI wants, as do many others in the industry, to avoid a chaotic situation like last summer's 'bra wars', when exports of Chinese clothing became stuck in transit to the EU and decision-makers faced severe criticism over the quota system introduced.

"FESI is deeply concerned that the proposed duties are considerably higher than under the previous proposal, especially in the case of Vietnam," it added. "This runs counter to any development policy logic: Vietnam, which saw its exports to the EU decline and prices rise in 2005, will be capped to a lower export level and face substantially higher duties than China."

The federation also wants the EU to rethink the decision to refuse Market Economy Status to all but one supplier. "Chinese and Vietnamese footwear companies operate in a highly competitive environment," it points out.

As FESI argues, measures are likely to hit European consumers, not to mention retailers, when prices shoot up and could also damage Asia industry.

The EU, however, maintains there is "compelling evidence" that Chinese and Vietnamese imports are unfairly subsidised by the state and are dumped on the market at below-acceptable prices.

Special Technology Athletic Footwear (STAF) are not included in measures because they are almost exclusively produced in Asia and differ highly from the sort of shoes the EU makes.