EU tariffs on footwear from China and Vietnam will expire at the end of March following a decision by European shoemakers to abandon the duties as a way of tackling Asian competition, an EU spokesman said.

“Given that the European shoemakers’ association has publicly stated that it has not applied for an extension of the duties on certain Chinese and Vietnamese shoes, it’s therefore very clear for everyone that the current measures in place will expire on April 1,” said EU Commission spokesman John Clancy.

The European Confederation of the Footwear Industry, Europe’s largest shoemakers’ association, said on Monday it had dropped its call for an extension of antidumping tariffs, seeking instead strict monitoring of imports.

Clancy confirmed monitoring would take place on a weekly basis.

EU duties on leather shoes, in place since 2006, split EU members with arguments over whether the duties were justified or merely protectionist and highlighted divisions over the future of manufacturing in Europe.

They prompted China’s first legal challenge to the EU at the World Trade Organisation. (Reuters)