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Comment period ending next week on tariff exclusion expiration

Published February 15, 2024

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — A public comment period ends next Wednesday, Feb. 21, for industry members and others who want to tell the U.S. Trade Representative's Office how they feel about extending an exclusion from a 25% tariff on Chinese-made bicycle products.

The tariff exclusion applies to all children's bicycles and some e-bikes and has been extended several times, most recently on Dec. 26. PeopleForBikes has calculated that the exclusions cover products that the industry imports at roughly $120 million per year at import value, meaning the exclusions could result in savings of $30 million a year for the industry.

"This is your opportunity to ask for additional and ongoing tariff relief by extending these exclusions — or even making them permanent," PeopleForBikes' policy counsel, Matt Moore, wrote in a letter to the industry Thursday. 

Comments can be left at until Feb. 21. PeopleForBikes conducted a webinar on how to submit comments; a recording is available on Youtube.

As of Thursday, there were 91 public comments left on the docket, and only a handful of them appeared to be from bicycle or e-bike importers.

One comment from Jeff Frehner at Lectric Ebikes said sourcing e-bikes from outside China was not practical currently. "The manufacturing infrastructure for the electric bicycle as well as the manufacturing for the components of the electric bicycle are predominantly available in China. There are some other countries that do assemble electric bicycles. However, since the overwhelming majority of the components come from China this adds a great deal of additional time, cost, inconvenience and general hardship to the manufacturing process of the electric bicycle in a country outside China. We have explored manufacturing and assembly in other Asian countries and in India. This is just not an efficient or cost effective alternative at this time," Frehner wrote. He reported that Lectric Ebikes had 130 employees in the U.S.

Nick Wood of Vvolt e-Mobility had similar comments. "At this time there are zero (0) US-based manufacturers of ebike drive systems. EU-based brands primarily produce higher-priced products for their domestic markets, so these products have low applicability as replacements for components made in China," Wood wrote. 

Bob Pratt of Lifetime BMX said sourcing from outside China would add about 10% to the cost of the bikes his company imports. "The bicycle industry is in a delicate position at this time and increased costs will only continue to add to the difficulties the industry is undergoing," Pratt commented. 

Topics associated with this article: Tariffs, Electric bike

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