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EU imposes stiff anti-dumping duties on Chinese e-bikes

Published January 18, 2019
The duties, effective Saturday, range from 18.8 to 79.3 percent.

BRUSSELS (BRAIN) — As expected, the European Union has imposed duties on Chinese-made electric bicycles and e-bike components destined for the European Union.

The duties, effective Saturday, range from 18.8 to 79.3 percent. A 13-month EU investigation concluded that Chinese e-bike manufacturers benefit from unfair state subsidies including preferential financing, the ability to buy motors and batteries from other Chinese suppliers such as Bafang at below-market prices, tax breaks, government grants and cheap access to land.

Duties vary for several specified manufacturers. Giant Electric Vehicle, a division of Taiwan's Giant Bicycles based in Kunshan, China, was assessed a duty of 24.6 percent. Duties for other companies include 73.4 percent for Bodo Vehicle Group; 18.8 percent for Jinhua Vision Industry; and 48.1 percent for Yada Technology Group.

Duties for several other Chinese e-bike manufacturers were set at 33.4 percent, but some will be required to pay 79.3 percent.

The EU said the influx of low-priced Chinese e-bikes has kept European producers from reaping the full benefits of Europe's booming e-bike market.

Chinese producers more than tripled e-bike exports to the EU — to nearly 700,000 units from 200,000 — from 2014 to Sept. 30, 2017, the period studied by the EU. The market share of the Chinese e-bikes zoomed from 18 percent to 35 percent.

Although European e-bike manufacturers increased e-bike sales by 25 percent during the same period, their market share dropped from 75 percent in 2014 to 51 percent. Profit margins and cash flow also declined, and four manufacturers, including Germany's Mifa, went out of business.

"The pressure on prices by subsidized imports from the PRC [China] kept profits and cash flows at depressed levels," the EU said. The EU used financial results for four European manufacturers — the Accell Group, Eurosport DHS SA, Derby Cycle, and Gazelle — as the basis for its investigation.

The anti-dumping investigation stemmed from a November 2017 complaint by the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA), which represents Europe's major bicycle manufacturers. In previous statements, the EBMA has said that the influx of cheap Chinese e-bikes has harmed European jobs and companies.

"Our European bicycle, e-bike and components industry is one of the largest generators of green jobs in the EU, and the dumped Chinese e-bikes put at serious risk the employment of over 90,000 EU workers and 800 SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)," Moreno Fioravanti, the organization's secretary general, said shortly after the EBMA filed its original complaint.

One of the most vocal opponents of the duties is LEVA-EU, a trade association representing European retailers, distributors and manufacturers of light electric vehicles including e-bikes. On Friday, LEVA-EU manager Annick Roetynck called the duties "unfounded, protectionist, unfair, and absurd."

"The Commission is willing to sacrifice dozens of European SMEs for the benefit of just a few big players," Roetynck added. "The duties also have a devastating impact on a large number of European SMEs, whose livelihoods depend on the assembly [of] e-bikes in China. Since there are not enough assembly facilities outside China readily available, many of these companies are now confronted with existential problems for which they have had no time to anticipate in their business planning."

The EU ruling comes as U.S. suppliers are also coping with tariffs on Chinese-made e-bikes, conventional bikes and most components and accessories — along with a host of other products — that the Trump Administration imposed last year as part of a trade dispute with China.

However, news reports on Friday suggested that negotiations between the two countries could lead to an easing of the tariffs. U.S. stock markets surged on the news of potential progress between the two countries.

Chinese-made e-bikes and motors are currently subject to a 25 percent U.S. tariff, which was effective Aug. 23. On Sept. 24, the administration imposed a 10 percent tariff on conventional bikes and most components and accessories.

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Topics associated with this article: Tariffs

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