Privately owned mainland shoe maker Aokang Group said it will file the first legal challenge against the European Union's anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese leather footwear. The company, which has more than 15,000 employees, has retained a lawyer to file a lawsuit on the grounds that the tariffs imposed on October 7 violate EU laws, according to its website. Aokang did not say when it would go to court. The duties, which replaced temporary tariffs and will be on the books for two years, are 9.7 per cent for one Chinese shoemaker, 16.5 per cent on the remaining mainland manufacturers, and 10 per cent on those in Vietnam. The measures affect Euro1.3 billion in annual mainland shoe exports. Hong Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), the world's largest sports shoe maker, is still considering - as part of the industry's Coalition of Chinese Shoe Manufacturers Against EU Anti-dumping Actions - whether to contest the duties, said executive director Steve Li I-nan. 'A collective effort is more effective,' he said. Yue Yuen had revenue of US$3.16 billion last year. Earlier the company had estimated that only 6 per cent of sales would be affected by the duties. A key reason many shoemakers are reluctant to file a lawsuit is the typical two-year process time, or as long as the duties are scheduled to last. 'Now you know why the EU picked a period of two years,' said Edmund Sim, a partner at US law firm Hunton & Williams who represents about 15 Chinese and Vietnamese shoemakers. 'We advised our clients to file lawsuits but to date, virtually none have agreed,' Mr Sim said. If a shoemaker wins the case, it is entitled to a refund of all the anti-dumping duties paid, he said. Another Hong Kong-listed shoemaker, Kingmaker Footwear Holdings, has no plans to contest the duties, said marketing director Phillip Kimmel. 'We don't think we can win this suit.' Mr Kimmel said the anti-dumping duties affect only part of Kingmaker's exports to the EU which include non-leather footwear. The region accounted for about 40 per cent of the firm's HK$1.28 billion turnover in the year to March 31. All legal appeals against EU anti-dumping measures are handled at the European Court of First Instance in Strasbourg, France. Meanwhile, China's Ministry of Commerce is continuing to prepare its complaint with the WTO over the duties, said Mr Sim, citing sources in the ministry. The complaint is the first step in China's legal challenge against the EU duties before the arbitration process at the World Trade Organisation. Even if China won the case, it may have little practical impact, as the WTO legal process also takes two years, Mr Sim said: 'Politically, the Chinese government has to be seen to be doing something, as this is the biggest EU anti-dumping case against China.' Sports brands such as Nike, which source shoes from Asian factories, have no plans to contest the duties for now, said a source close to the sports brands.