China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Friday it welcomed a decision by the European Union's anti-dumping committee to reject an extension of dumping duties on leather shoes from China.
"The Chinese government welcomes the decision and would follow closely the development of the issue," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
The statement came after 15 out of the 27 EU's anti-dumping committee member states voted against a European Commission proposal to extend the duties by 15 months.
"The fact that a majority of member states demanded to end the duties demonstrated the will of insightful EU people to support free trade and oppose protectionism," said the MOC in the statement.
The Chinese government urged the European Commission to "conform to the will of the public" and put forward "correct" proposal to the European Council to end the anti-dumping measures.
On Oct 5, 2006, the EU decided to impose anti-dumping duties of up to 16.5 percent against Chinese leather shoes for two years, a decision widely criticized by EU retailers and consumers.
Brussels temporarily reimposed the tariff thus pending a review launched last October when the penalty duties should have expired, despite opposition from the majority of member states.
During the review period which usually lasts 12 to 15 months, the duties would remain in effect.
On Oct 13, the Commission proposed to extend the measure for 15 months. The proposal was vetoed Thursday by the EU's anti-dumping committee.
The Council of the EU will have to make the final decision no later than January 2010.