Next Week First Big Decision on Dumping Case E-Bikes from China
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Friday next week – 20 April – is an important date in the dumping affair on e-bikes imported from China. It is the deadline for the European Union Commission to decide on registration of imports. Such registration would allow retroactive collection of duties, should provisional duties be imposed and confirmed by final duties.
On registration the “Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles” has sent a second position paper to the European Commission further objecting to such recording of imports. It has been requested by the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association (EBMA). If granted by the European Commission it would allow for retroactive collection of (provisional) anti-dumping duties.
Stockpiling of e-bikes
According to the position paper of the Importers Collective “EBMA continues to build on unverifiable, Chinese export data to establish the so-called stockpiling, that requires registration. As a result, EBMA claims a huge increase of Chinese exports in December 2017, January and February 2018. EBMA has consistently asked the Commission to treat these Chinese statistics as confidential information, since they allegedly have paid a fee to obtain the numbers. The Collective asks the Commission to disclose the identity of the data provider, which will also allow the Collective to obtain and verify the data for a fee.”
The Importers Collective further argues that “Chinese export statistics are not supported by Eurostat statistics. The Collective believes that this is due to the fact that the EBMA does not use the proper method for assessing the need for registration. Eurostat reports average monthly import volumes of around 68,670 units for the investigation period and an average of 59,200 in the three month following the initiation of the anti-dumping investigation. Even imports in January 2018, at 64,020 units, were lower than the average for the investigation period. So, the proper method for assessing the need for registration shows no surge in additional import volumes and/or stockpiling and therefore no need whatsoever for registration.”
The Importers also note that it is practically impossible for their members to stockpile as they don’t buy e-bikes off the shelve but have them tailor made, which involves very long lead-times.
‘Absence of injury’
Furthermore the Importers Collective points to the absence of injury to the EU industry. As an example it refers to the robust growth in e-bike sales by Accell Group in 2016 and 2017 and this company’s note that it has also recorded a further order intake increase for 2018. “Since future order intake is a crucial element of assessing actual injury or a threat thereof, the fact that publicly available information indicates that one of the largest EU e-bike producers has a healthy order intake points strongly to no such threat, contrary to the EBMA’s claims.”
‘Disproportionate damage to EU importers’
Finally, the Collective questions whether a significant number of EBMA’s members can actually be considered as part of the EU industry, because they themselves are significant importers of electric bicycles from China. “It is relatively clear from the Commission’s non-confidential files that the company Prophete is a related importer for one of the sampled EU producers. Another EBMA-member, BH is part of the importers’ sample. As for Oxylane, it is part of Decathlon which, as reported by Bike Europe (16/01/2018), sells 60,000 to 70,000 per year which are currently being produced in China.”
The Importers Collective argues further that registration of imports will inflict further and disproportionate damage to EU importers. “It would have an unjustified chilling effect with potential cancellation of deliveries, because EU importers cannot reasonably assess the risk involved in retroactive collection of duties at a completely unknown duty rate. The European Commission has until 20th April to decide on registration, which creates the possibility of retroactive collection. However, should registration be imposed, duties will only be collected on condition that the Commission decides for definitive dumping duties. That decision is still a long way off.”
The statutory time schedule for dumping investigations carried out by the European Commission stipulates that it must be concluded within 15 months of the date of the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. This means that by 20 January 2019 the investigation must be finished and the Commission must decide by that date (or earlier) on imposing an anti-dumping duty on e-bikes imported from China.