A number of Europe-based electric bike (e-bike) manufacturers have collectively filed a complaint with the European Commission concerning the import of relatively cheap e-bike imports from China, according to recent reports.
The gist of the complaint filed by the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA) is that the Chinese imports are being sold in the European Union at “excessively” low prices, enabled through the use of “unfair” subsidies.
In other words, the complaint alleges that Chinese companies are utilizing “dumping” practices that result in squashing legitimate competition and thus market dominance of Chinese companies.
A decision is expected to be made by the Commission before the end of the month whether an investigation is to be launched.
“The EBMA is also preparing a related complaint alleging illegal subsidies and asking for registration of Chinese e-bike imports, which could allow eventual duties to be backdated.” Reuters notes.
“Such an investigation would be the latest in a string of probes into Chinese exports ranging from solar panels to steel and could raise trade tensions with Beijing, particularly with a subsidy inquiry into the support provided by the Chinese state.
“Bicycles have already been a flashpoint. The EU blamed China last December for scuppering a global environmental trade deal by insisting that bicycles be included as a tariff-free green product. Chinese conventional bicycles have been subject to EU anti-dumping duties since 1993.”
According to the EBMA, there were over 430,000 Chinese e-bikes sold in the EU in 2016 — representing a roughly 40% increase compared to 2015 levels. Preliminary forecasts for 2017 are in the ~800,000 range. So, import levels certainly do seem to be increasing rapidly.
EBMA secretary-general Moreno Fioravanti argues: “Today the European bikes are the best in the world and we have to invest every year to renew the range. The Chinese are getting the money from the government and the subsidies have an impact of 30%, 40%, even 50% of the price of the product. … You have subsidies, which generate overcapacity, which generate dumping.”
Does anybody living in Europe that uses e-bikes have anything to add to this? Any comments? Opinions?
Image by Christian Mercat (some rights reserved)
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