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WTO Doha Wants to Eliminate Duties on Bike Parts

Industry- & Retail Organizations

GENEVA, Switzerland – The cancellation of the meeting of ministers by the World Trade Organization (WTO) this month to discuss a breakthrough in the Doha round is also affecting the global bicycle industry. Although the main topic on the agenda of the Doha round were to be the agricultural tariffs and farm subsidies it were in fact

WTO Doha Wants to Eliminate Duties on Bike Parts

GENEVA, Switzerland – The cancellation of the meeting of ministers by the World Trade Organization (WTO) this month to discuss a breakthrough in the Doha round is also affecting the global bicycle industry. Although the main topic on the agenda of the Doha round were to be the agricultural tariffs and farm subsidies it were in fact the sectoral deals which blocked the WTO meeting this month.

Beyond any across-the-board cuts in industrial tariffs, the United States and some other exporters want to reach voluntary deals with groups of countries to eliminate duties in specific sectors such as bicycle parts or chemicals. Current efforts to designate bikes as “environmentally preferable products” (EPP’s) which are free of tariffs and other trade barriers have gone largely unnoticed by the international bicycling industry.

Chinese participation

The US negotiators say such sectoral deals could provide the main new export opportunities in the Doha round. However they say that these deals will only be worthwhile if enough big emerging countries like Brazil or India join in. Developing countries insist such deals must be voluntary, and China in particular bristles at talk of ensuring “critical mass”, which it sees as code for Chinese participation.

One option is whether to allow deals for ‘subsectors’, for instance eliminating duties on some bicycle parts but keeping higher protection for others. Differences over whether sectoral deals are a core part of an industrial agreement or a voluntary add-on are the main point of contention, with emerging countries rejecting US calls to commit in advance to a successful negotiation.

 

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