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Trump’s Tariffs on China Bike Imports Brings ‘Devastation to U.S. Industry’

Sales & Trends

WASHINGTON, USA – The by President Trump triggered trade war with China has led the United States to charge the import of regular bicycles as well as electric bikes and bike products from China with a 25 percent tariff. This comes on top of the regular 11 percent import duty (on ordinary bicycles) resulting in a total import tax rate of 36 percent. According to the country’s biggest bicycle importer – Huffy Corporation – it will have devastating impact on bike sales and it will devastate the American bicycle industry.

Trump’s Tariffs on China Bike Imports Brings ‘Devastation to U.S. Industry’
According to Huffy, U.S. biggest bicycle importer, Trump tariffs will have ‘devastating’ impact on bike sales. – Photo Huffy

The United States started to impose the 25 percent tariff on all bicycles imported from China on August 23. Earlier, at the public consultation rounds, Huffy’s President and CEO Bill Smith said in his comments to the U.S. Trade Representative “The tariff solves no problems. It only creates problems.” In particular as it brings serious disruptions to the current world trade in bikes and parts. That comes with the huge import volume in bicycles the Unites States annually imports from China.

14.6 million bikes from China

The Huffy top manager explained in his commentary exactly where this U.S. import relates to quantity wise. He said “The bicycle industry imported 15.7 million bikes last year and Huffy had the largest market share of the industry’s total imports at 26%. Of those 15.7 million bikes imported last year 14.6 million or 93% came from China. Huffy imported over 4 million bikes from China resulting in a 28% market share of those bikes imported from China. There is no other country in Asia or Europe that can provide the volume Huffy requires as China is the largest bicycle producer in the world. There is no domestic parts infrastructure to protect as most bicycle components are also produced in China.”

Serious threat

Furthermore, Bill Smith says “This tariff is a serious threat to Huffy, the over 200 people directly employed by Huffy and the thousands upon thousands of Americans employed by our industry. This proposed tariff disregards the fact our industry is already paying an 11% duty on ALL imported bikes regardless of country source. This represents an estimated USD 98 million tax on American bicycle consumers based on the U.S. Department of Commerce Import Data. Remember, more than 95% of all bicycles sold in the U.S. are imported. Simply our industry has no immediate viable alternatives to using China as our main source.”

Effect on retail prices

Huffy’s President and CEO also reflects in his comments on what the tariff brings for retail prices of bicycles sold in the United States. It will increase average retail prices of bicycles sold in the mass retail segment, which represents 85 percent of the bicycle industry unit volume, by increasing the average retail price from USD 100 per bike to USD 125 per bike.

He furthers with “The average retail price for a bicycle in the independent bike dealership is USD 500 which equates to a USD 125 price increase to USD 625 per bike. These are extraordinary price increases for middle class Americans who make up the clear majority of our riders. This proposed tariff will have a devasting impact on bicycle sales as consumer demand will plummet. More importantly, it will devastate the American bicycle industry across all segments disproportionately impacting 4,000 independent bicycle dealers whose very livelihood depends on the sale of bicycles. For perspective, the recently implemented 25% tariff on the nascent electric bike category will derail this new industry initiative before it even gets off the ground.”

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