Plans to extend anti-dumping duties against footwear imports from China and Vietnam have hit a snag after a panel of EU Member States' anti-dumping experts voted against the idea.

However, yesterday's (19 November) vote is not the end of the story - despite being welcomed by trade groups representing importers and retailers in Europe.

The EU's College of Commissioners will now discuss the issue before it goes to vote once more by Member States at the Council next month.

The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) however, believes the Commission has already decided that the duties should continue, and is likely to lobby Member States to persuade them to change their vote at Council.

"We believe that the Commission's conclusions are not objective and that indeed there are legal arguments to prevent the duties continuing," says Stuart Newman, the FTA's legal advisor.

"We also know that the Commission will not take today's vote lying down and will continue to persuade Member States to vote in their favour. Therefore, we will continue to do likewise."

The Commission says it has studied the impact of the measures on producers, importers, retailers and consumers.

The FTA maintains EU producers are not hurt by the imports, but that importers, retailers and consumers are hurt by the anti-dumping duties.

The Commission has recommended a 15-month extension of the anti-dumping levies, which originally began in 2006 and were extended pending a review last year.

If the taxes - 16.5% on Chinese and 10% on Vietnamese leather footwear imports respectively - are adopted, they will take effect from January 2010 and lapse at the end of March 2011.