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EU’s Bike Import Up Again in a Big Way

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LUXEMBOURG (August 3) – The latest figures from Eurostat, the EU’s custom data bureau, indicate that in 2003 the 15 member states imported 12.19 million bicycles, that is 22.5% more than in 2002. With that the import from EU countries increased with 15.5% for a total of almost 4.22 million. The import from non-European countries […]

LUXEMBOURG (August 3) – The latest figures from Eurostat, the EU’s custom data bureau, indicate that in 2003 the 15 member states imported 12.19 million bicycles, that is 22.5% more than in 2002. With that the import from EU countries increased with 15.5% for a total of almost 4.22 million. The import from non-European countries however grew a lot more, i.e. 26.5% up to a total of just under 8 million. As a result the European share in the total bicycle import fell to 34.6% whereas the year before that share was 36.7%. In the past year, some alarming reports gave the impression that the EU was being flooded by cheap bikes from the Far East. The Eurostat figures show that that is not really the case. Volume is going up and average value down, but not to an extent that qualifies as dramatic. The impression mainly results from the developments in the UK. There, the import of sometimes very cheap bicycles from Southeast Asia is assuming vast proportions. Last year, the UK imported almost 3.29 million bikes from outside the EU, an increase of 41.2% compared with 2002. As a result, the country had a share of 41.2% in the total extra-EU import! Since Raleigh closed down its production at the end of 2002, there is hardly any domestic bicycle production left. And it looks as if that is being substituted by the import of mainly cheap bikes from low-wage countries in the Far East. In 2003, the European import from Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri-Lanka was almost integrally sold to the UK. Moreover the country had an absolute majority share in the import from the Philippines and Tunisia. Finally, the sales of bicycles from Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bulgaria and India in the UK exceeded one third of the total European import. In Bike Europe’s August edition (publication date August 20) is a full report on the EU bicycle imports in 2003, including a complete overview about what’s happening in the new member states. (AR)

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