It’s back. And, it’s top of mind for lots of executives in the European bike sector. The same goes for the Chinese, by the way. They too will have dedicated lots of resources to this issue in the hopes of making this effective trade block disappear after over twenty years.
I heard that bike makers in Europe; the members of the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA) - the stakeholding contact for Brussels - all have dedicated teams to handle the piles of paperwork and data gathering involved with building a case against the Chinese industry and its alleged illegal activities.
What specific activities the Chinese industry is conducting, according to the EBMA, is illegal trading. The allegation is explained in detail in the cover story of this issue. No, the information that is there didn’t come from the European manufacturers united in EBMA, as this association shines at secrecy. EBMA’s confidential complaint on China’s illegal trading practices reached me through a report in the Financial Times.
We dug deeper on these complaints and in particular analyzed if it’s likely that China-made bikes reach Europe through re-routing and re-packaging schemes in countries such as Sri Lanka that enjoy a preferential trading status with Europe. The analysis is on pages 4 and 5 of the May issue of Bike Europe.
Large scale re-routing
It says that it could be the case for Sri Lanka; and for some 300,000 unaccounted bikes. But not for a large scale re-routing and re-packaging operation with close to a million bikes or so which, related to the total of 8 to 9 million units EU bike imports, should really make a difference. The fact also is that for some years already it has been said that re-routing takes place through Sri Lanka, but there has never been (as far as I know) official complaints lodged at OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office.
In the analysis on pages 4 and 5 of the May issue of Bike Europe you’ll also find some insight on who and what is EBMA. Not that there’s a lot, though. But what is striking is that Decathlon is an EBMA member. The biggest sporting goods retailer in Europe (and probably in the world) is a bike manufacturer too with its assembly operation in Lille, France where the company is also headquartered.
The fact that Decathlon supported the previous dumping complaint (at least the company was named as one of the Union producers in the October 7, 2011 publication in the Official Journal of the European Community in which new anti-dumping measures were announced) is underlining the worries on what’s to happen once the dumping measures against China made bikes are gone: price erosion.