News Article

Eurostat Data Indicates Fraudulent Speed E-Bike Import

Sales & Trends

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Eurostat statistics for the first nine months of 2016 indicate that fraud is occurring with the import of speed e-bikes from China. Import numbers increased by a huge 450 percent. Also the average value per imported unit differs greatly from what is customary.

Eurostat Data Indicates Fraudulent Speed E-Bike Import
Is large scale import of regular bicycles from China taking place under Eurostat codes for e-bikes for avoiding 56.5% in duties? – Photo Bike Europe

For e-bikes as well as speed e-bikes (also named speed pedelecs) a lower import tariff applies while a dumping duty is entirely absent. On that import a 6% import duty is taxed by the EU; regular bicycles have a 14% import duty.

Also on the import of regular bicycles from China a 48.5% dumping duty is levied by the EU. This dumping duty does not apply to electric bicycles and speed e-bikes. This makes importing regular bicycles under the heading of speed e-bikes attractive. In particular as it avoids a total of 56.5% in duties which is levied on the ex-works price.

Total EU Speed E-Bike Import (in units & value)

2016 Jan-Sep 2015 Jan-Sep 2016 vs. 2015
Units 977,282 213,485 +357.77%
Value (€) 168,100,255 98,020,200 +71.49%
Average price € 172.00 € 459.14 -62.53%

Period: Jan-Sep 2016, Jan-Sep 2015
Source: Eurostat

Top-5 suppliers, 2016 vs. 2015 (in units)

Country 2016 Jan-Sep 2015 Jan-Sep
(rank in 2015)
2016 vs. 2015
1. China 895,213 162,435 (1.) +451.12%
2. Taiwan 27,024 23,425 (2.) +15.36%
3. Hong Kong 25,226 6,229 (4.) +304.97%
4. United Arab Emirates 19,555 15 (18.) /
5. United States 8,000 3,970 (5.) +101.51%

Period: Jan-Sep 2016, Jan-Sep 2015
Source: Eurostat

Import tracked by CN codes

Since January 1, 2012 the import of e-bikes and speed e-bikes into the EU is tracked by specific ‘Combined Nomenclature’ (CN) codes. European industry associations for bicycle producers and for parts makers urged the European Union for these specific CN codes. Under these CN codes all imports into the European Union are tracked while all import and dumping duties are linked to these codes.

The EU has allocated two product separate codes to e-bikes: 8711 90 10 for cycles with an auxiliary electric motor with a continuous rated power not exceeding 250 watts and 8711 90 90 for other; meaning speed e-bikes.

Close to 1 million speed e-bikes

Under CN Code 87119090 some 980,000 speed e-bikes were imported into the EU during January – September 2016. This import was not only from China but also from other countries like Taiwan or the United States. This close to one million speed e-bikes was up 360% on the 215,000 total of the first nine months of 2015.

The more than tripled import stands out and is not reflected by any 2016 market trend in Europe. Also the average value per imported speed e-bike presents anomalies and/or indication for fraud. In 2015 that value per imported unit stood at about 460 euro which is a correct reflection for exported (speed) e-bikes. That doesn’t go for the 2016 value per exported unit. This stood, according to the Eurostat data, at only 172 euro! It indicates an over 60%  drop in value.

Import of 250 Watt – 25km/h e-bikes

The import of regular electric bicycles in the named period also shows a huge – close to 85%! – growth. Under CN Code 87119010 for (250Watt/25 km/h) 830,000 e-bikes were imported in 2016. In the first nine months of 2015 this stood at 450,000 units. On the basis of the growing e-bike market in Europe this strong growth is somewhat explicable. Next to that the value per imported unit doesn’t deviate as much as at speed e-bikes.

Fraud or dumping?

It’s clear that the Eurostat statistics on the import of in particular speed e-bikes presents questions. Big questions on whether companies are importing regular bicycles from China under the CN code of speed e-bikes and probably also under the CN code for regular electric bicycles? With that these import companies avoid taxes and duties of over 55%.

Another explanation for the anomalies in the 2016 Eurostat data could be in Chinese export companies ‘dumping’ (selling below cost prices) their e-bikes in Europe.

In this regard, the news is striking that manifested itself a couple of weeks ago. On November 29, 2016 Bike Europe reported that the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products held an ‘Alert Meeting on the EU anti-dumping investigation for e-bikes.’ This meeting took place November 22. The China Chamber of Commerce notification for the Alert Meeting said, “We recently learned that an application has been submitted to the European Commission by the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA), requesting to start an investigation on the dumping of e-bikes and speed e-bikes made in China, the codes of the investigated products are 87119010 and 87119090. According to the provisions of EU anti-dumping legislation, the Commission will decide within 45 days from receiving the application whether it be put on record officially.”

EBMA’s official reaction

On November 29 Bike Europe asked EBMA for a reaction on the China Chamber of Commerce notification. The European Bicycle Manufacturers Association response said, “There is not any current EBMA request, nor – in EBMA’s knowledge – any new investigation at the European Union Commission at present. The rapidly growing imports from China to the EU are being monitored through Eurostat.”

EBMA also points to the fact the in the past rumours on an anti-dumping duty on the import into the EU of e-bikes were going round in China. EBMA specifically point to a report that this trade journal posted earlier on its website.

Or download related reports.

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