The European Commission's plan to extend anti-dumping duties against footwear imports from China and Vietnam ignores the concerns of importers, retailers and consumers, a leading pressure group says.

The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) called upon EU member states to reject the proposed 15-month extension to the measures when they meet to make the final decision on the plan later this year.

"As we have continually said throughout the review of these measures and as we said throughout the original investigation three years ago, these duties are unnecessary," said Jan Eggert, secretary general of the FTA.

"Whilst the EU industry may be facing difficulties - as indeed are EU importers and retailers - those difficulties are not a result of imports from China and Vietnam."

The tariffs - 16.5% and 10% on imports of leather shoes from China and Vietnam respectively - were originally put in place in 2006, and were extended last year pending an investigation of the market.

But the FTA argues that these imports are not comparable with the "high-end, niche products" produced in the EU, and so cannot be harming their sales.

"In addition, the Commission has resorted to the tired argument that prices to consumers have not increased significantly as a result of the duties," Eggert said.

"Why they cannot see that retailers in such a fiercely competitive market would not pass on cost increases in the form of increased consumer prices as a reaction to anti-dumping duties is beyond me."

FTA president Ferry den Hoed pointed out that the Commission investigation had taken considerably longer than the seven months originally promised, causing FTA members more suffering as a result.

He said: "We have, of course, the right to respond, but ultimately it is up to the EU member states to decide whether the duties continue and I appeal to them to take the only course that is proper: reject the proposal and prevent the continuation of duties."