The European Commission lacks credible evidence for its proposed anti-dumping legislation against leather shoe imports from China, according to a senior official with China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
The comments were made yesterday by Wang Shichun, director of MOC's Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports.
They were in response to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's recommendation to phase in temporary anti-dumping duties, up to 19.4 percent, against Chinese shoe firms by October.
Mandelson claimed that "state-supported dumping" had caused serious injury to the European shoe industry.
"The EU labeled 13 Chinese shoe manufacturers, which they investigated last September, as non-market economy firms, totally neglecting the fact that all these enterprises were privately-owned firms or joint ventures," Wang said.
The EU also declined to grant market economy treatment to another 100 or so Chinese shoemakers that responded to the dumping claims.
Market economic treatment is a status that helps firms sell their goods abroad.
Wang called Mandelson's proposal a "big step backward" in the EU's dumping investigation against Chinese products.
The official claimed that footwear imported from China had resulted in little harm to the European industry.
"An outcome unfavorable to Chinese exporters is also expected to hurt importers, retailers and customers in Europe," Wang said.
"We hope that the EU will reconsider the case and make a ruling that meets World Trade Organization rules."
The EU started monitoring China's shoe exports after a complaint in February last year. A dumping investigation was officially launched last July.
Mandelson's plan for the implementation of tariffs was scheduled to be discussed at a committee of all the EU's 25 members yesterday.
An EU delegation is expected to arrive in China this week to meet local shoemakers and ministry officials.
In another development, an unnamed EU official was quoted by Reuters as saying the European Commission does not plan to impose anti-dumping duties on plastic bags from China, Malaysia and Thailand for now.
"The Commission will not propose the imposition of provisional measures at this stage as the investigation continues," the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters on Tuesday.
The EU's executive has been investigating plastic bags in parallel with its probe into leather shoe imports since last year.
(China Daily March 10, 2006)