China said it opposed anti-dumping investigations by the European Union (EU) into increased Chinese shoe imports, accusing its trading partner of distorting trade figures and misleading the public.
"China urges the EU to start with the facts, make decisions cautiously and avoid trade frictions," Chong Quan, a spokesman of Ministry of Commerce, said in a statement on the ministry's Web site Saturday. China is against the EU starting anti-dumping investigations without "factual grounds or legal basis."
China had started negotiations with European counterparts to address alleged "serious errors" in collecting and calculating trade statistics, Chong said. Imports of some types of shoes from China surged 581 percent in the first four months of this year, according to EU statistics, 25 times the 22.8 percent increase recorded by China's customs, the Ministry of Commerce statement said.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on June 15 said he supported a probe into Chinese exports of safety shoes after a European shoemakers' group complained some footwear was being sold for less than the cost of production.
The number of jobs in the EU footwear industry dropped to 290,129 last year from 405,270 in 1998, according to the Confederation of the European Footwear Industry, which said that the job markets in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland and France were among the hardest hit.
The number of people working in the industry in Europe was expected to fall by about half in the next two years, the group said.