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E-Bike Weapon

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Jack Oortwijn

Jack Oortwijn is Bike Europe's editor in chief.



It took place very much behind the scenes of the European bike sector. However, it could be of vital importance in the near future. I am talking about the topic of our cover article. Industry associations COLIBI and COLIPED (respectively representing European bike and parts makers) were able to get the European Commission to list a dedicated CN Code for electric bikes.

When I received this announcement from the above-named associations, it immediately reminded me of a conversation I had some time ago with one of the captains of industry from the bike sector.
We talked about whether the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association (EBMA) would apply to Brussels for a renewed dumping investigation for bicycle imports from China (since that conversation another five year term of anti-dumping duties was approved).

I can remember from this conversation that the CEO of one of the biggest bike makers in Europe was very frustrated that electric bikes couldn’t be included in the dumping investigation. When I asked why, he answered, because e-bikes don’t have a CN Code. And, he added, the European Commission doesn’t want to change the current CN Codes.

Well, that position has been turned around. Somehow COLIBI and COLIPED managed to convince the bureaucrats in Brussels of the importance of electric bikes for urban mobility now and in the future. A CN Code for e-bikes brings with it the possibility to track the import of such bikes in detail. Through the Eurostat data bureau, specifics such as country of origin; the number of bikes imported per country, as well as the value of the import can be traced. With that also the (FOB) value per imported unit can be calculated. This information is vital for investigating dumping practices.

Will there be such an investigation in a couple of year’s time? Nobody knows yet. But what is certain is that the European industry managed to acquire a strong weapon in order to fight illegal actions from certain exporting countries. It’s also an effective tool to combat floods of low quality products coming into the European markets and creating price erosion as well as distribution channel ‘erosion’.

This is what’s currently happening with light powered two-wheelers – the 50 to 125 cc scooters and mopeds. Imports from Asia with ultra low quality at ultra low prices are severely impacting the markets on which second-hand car dealers are entering in big numbers.

Hopefully the CN Code will prevent this from happening with electric bikes.

by Jack Oortwijn last update:11 Jul 2012

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One comment

  • # 1


    Very nice but here is missing one point. The quality of the imported goods doesn't do manufacturer but the IMPORTERS. Before when was western world profiting from cheap labor and moving all production to Asia this was good. Now when they lost all the infrastructure and all the western production is so expensive they can't compete and when the Asian starting finally produce quality on they own without paying the cut we see it as a problem. Time to panic... This is very simile to the case of improving ecological production in Europe by moving the "dirty" one to the Asia.This will not solve ecology on the planet the same as regulation limiting the import will not solve the rotten bureaucratic system of Europe and super high taxing. I import goods myself and I know how much small change of the price in entry does affect the price on the end. Any costly certifications will just get rid with small importers and all will stay free for the big ones... very tidy

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