Importers Collective: E-Bike Duties Are ‘Abuse of Trade Defense Instruments’
GAND, Belgium – In a reaction LEVA-EU and the Collective of Importers state “To deeply regret Brussels’ decision to impose provisional duties which may well deal a decisive blow to several European companies in the e-bike market, limiting consumer’s choice and forcing Europeans to pay the bill”.
LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck who is also managing the ‘Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles’ says further “A final decision on definitive duties, whether or not to be retroactively collected is expected around the end of this year. LEVA-EU and the Collective are determined to continue to fight this case. This is only one battle lost, we haven’t lost the war. From our first analysis, we conclude that the Regulation holds many inconsistencies and omissions. All these will be thoroughly addressed in the Collective’s official response to the Regulation.”
Retroactively collection of duties
The LEVA-EU – Importers Collective reaction on the European Commission’s imposition of provisional ant-dumping duties on e-bikes imported from China furthers with: “What’s happening? Following a complaint brought by the European Bicycle Manufacturer’s Association (EBMA) on 8 September, the European Commission opened an investigation into imports of e-bikes from China on 20 October 2017. This complaint as well as the procedure are heavily contested by a Collective of 22 importers, managed by LEVA-EU. Since 4 May 2018, the European Commission imposed the registration of all new e-bike imports with the competent custom authorities. The imposition of today’s provisional duties of up to 83.6% opens the door to definitive duties, that could be imposed around the end of this year and which may or may not be collected retroactively from the registration date onward.
The Commission’s provisional duties are absurd as so far no evidence of dumping has been established:
• The complainant has failed to prove any injury to the European e-bike industry. All so-called European manufacturers have seen double digit growth over the last few years and are bound to continue profiting from this expanding market.
• Most e-bike components are imported from China, and then only assembled by European “manufacturers”. This assembly procedure amounts to € 25 to € 35, and that is the only difference between so-called European “manufacturers” and “importers”.
The Commission will only decide if and what proportion shall be collected in its final decision. However the registration, which includes the threat of retroactive collections, already has a devastating effect on European e-bike businesses and on jobs, and will only be exacerbated by the provisional duties. Since the registration European importers are in turmoil, left with total uncertainty as to what to business plans. Many of these companies may find it difficult if not impossible to obtain the bank guarantee, necessary to avoid effective payment of provisional duties.
Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, also claims “This is a clear case of abuse of trade defence instruments for protectionist reasons, and importers have been punished before a verdict has even been reached. This baseless and opaque procedure is severely injuring many small and medium sized European businesses as well as the growing e-bike market in Europe. We filed an application for annulment of the registration regulation with the General Court of the EU on Tuesday 10 July. Nevertheless, the Commission seems to be determined to go ahead with this procedure and working towards the impositions of definitive duties, despite having violated the importers’ due process on several occasions already”.