Bad EEA report for transport

The European Environment Agency Briefing “Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM)” gives the annual progress assessment based on a series of indicators which track the progress of the transport sector in meeting related policy targets and objectives. Issues covered in the briefing include emissions, air pollution, noise and renewable energy and the impact of transport on ecosystems and biodiversity. The report for 2016 is not good and is yet another proof that policy has to acknowledge light electric vehicles as a key factor in solving the problems.

Key findings:

Provisional data shows that in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector (including international aviation but excluding maritime shipping) across the EU-28 were 25 % higher than in 1990, confirming an upward trend in emissions since 2014.
The average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new passenger vans and cars in 2016 were below the respective target paths for 2020 and 2021, although considerable reductions still need to be made in the coming years for manufacturers to meet future targets.
While sales of new diesel passenger cars have decreased in recent years, the share of diesel used in road transport (including for freight transport by heavy-duty vehicles) has continued to rise, amounting to more than 66 % of total fuel sales in road transport in 2015, compared with 51 % in 2000.
Oil consumption by the transport sector will need to fall by more than two-thirds to meet the objective of reducing consumption by 70 % by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.
The share of renewable energy in transport in the EU rose from 6.7 % in 2015 to 7.1 % in 2016, lower than the 10 % target set for 2020. Three Member States (Austria, Finland and Sweden) have already reached the 10 % goal.
Transport is the main source of environmental noise in Europe and contributes to pressure on ecosystem and biodiversity habitats. It also continues to be a significant source of harmful air pollution, especially through emissions of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

The Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles regrets new EU anti-dumping legislation comes late

The Collective welcomes the approval by the European Council of the new anti-dumping legislation but sincerely regrets that these new rules, aimed at amending the EU breach of WTO rules, have come too late. It has not prevented EBMA from filing a complaint against imports of electric bikes from China based on the “old” unlawful rules. What’s worse, it has not prevented the European Commission from accepting the complaint and initiating a proceeding, which is just as well based on these unlawful rules.

The new legislation no longer allows the use of an analogue country, eliminates the distinction between market and non-market economies and reverses the burden of proof. The Commission will have to prove the existence of market distortions allowing for the application of the alternative method, i.e. the use of a constructed value.

Similar economic development

In other words, it will be up to the Commission to prove the existence of a “significant market distortion” between a product’s sale price and its production cost. On that basis, it will be allowed to set a price for the product by referring for example to the price of the good in a country with a similar level of economic development or to relevant undistorted international costs and prices.

Completely contrary to all the above, the Commission has provisionally chosen, in accord with EBMA, Switzerland as the most suitable analogue country. To the Collective, this comparison appears neither appropriate, nor convincing to prove China is dumping electric bicycles in Europe through undercutting and underselling.

In their submission to the European Commission, the Collective had already argued that the importers found it unacceptable that this complaint had been accepted and was being treated, not only in accordance with European legislation in breach of WTO rules, but also along lines which go diametrically against the spirit and the objectives of the new rules aimed at amending this breach of WTO-rules.

Totally unrealistic

Using Switzerland as an analogue country, is no less than comparing apples and oranges. Average monthly wages in China in 2016 were € 730, in Switzerland € 5,730. EBMA states explicitly that the case focusses mainly on EPACs, but chooses an analogue country with the relatively highest sales of speed EPACs in the world. In 2016, 22% of all electric bicycles sold in Switzerland were speed EPACs. The much more stringent technical rules for these vehicles than for EPACs are only one element in much higher price levels than for 25 km/h EPACs. But supplying the lower end of the market does not automatically mean dumping. EBMA ignores this world of difference between Chinese and Swiss EPAC production, which allows for the calculation of triple digit dumping margins (from 193% to 430%) based on normal values of in between € 1,782 and € 2,544. This is totally unrealistic.

The new Regulation will apply to all decisions on the initiation of proceedings, and to all proceedings, including original investigations and review investigations, initiated on or after the date on which this Regulation enters into force. The Regulation will enter into force the day after its publication in the Official Journal. That date is announced to be the 20th December, precisely two months after publication of the initiation of the proceeding.

Why LEVA-EU assists the Collective of European Importers in AD643

The Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles has requested LEVA-EU to assist them in their defence in AD643 against e-bikes from China. Upon careful consideration, LEVA-EU has decided to accept this task for the following reasons.

LEVA-EU is open to any party wanting to join in on the promotion of LEVs, including electric bicycles in Europe. LEVA-EU welcomes manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, dealers, … alike, provided they share LEVA-EU’s belief in LEVs and agree to work together to grow the market.

Having read the complaint, LEVA-EU has concluded that this initiative is not aimed at growing the market. It is an attempt to ensure a bigger piece of the market for some parties. For that purpose, the popular and currently well-used tactic of “us” against “them” is put in position. AD643 is meant to be read as a battle of European manufacturers against Chinese manufacturers. So, their assumption is: if you are European, you know which camp to support, because that is the camp that provides economic growth, jobs, etc. What’s more, they believe that as a European you should fight against the Chinese manufacturers. They believe their sole purpose is to kill off the European manufacturers, take all production to China and leave Europe with, yet another, economic and industrial wasteland.

Golden opportunity

LEVA-EU rather believes that there is a golden opportunity, which is far more real than the risks outlined by European manufacturers, but which unfortunately remains largely untapped.

Perhaps in 1993 the world was effectively still that simple. But today, 24 years later, the world has changed beyond imagination. The old demarcation separating “us” from “them” has become meaningless. European manufacturers are importing components from outside Europe on an unprecedented scale. Some are, in addition to their own assembly, also importing complete electric bicycles. Globalization and Internet have yielded so much more than just some opportunistic imports of crappy e-bikes. There are new entrepreneurs coming into the business, who are developing innovative and disruptive ideas and business models. They no longer abide by the traditional supply chains but work on principles, which are driven by developments and technologies based on new concepts such as mobility as a service. They shop around the world for components and assembly, whilst devising business models that include leasing, sharing, conventional sales which combine points of sales, Internet, home delivery,  … They are flexible, open-minded and very aware that they are working with a golden opportunity in the framework of issues such as mobility, transport, air quality, public health, etc.

Wrong enemy

Companies that keep clinging to old industrial adages are missing out on this golden opportunity. They have a quality product that sells well, and the objective is to stretch this success to a maximum. However, today, the world is moving too fast for such conservatism.

With all due respect, Europe does not need any conferences on and initiatives about bringing production back to the old continent. Europe needs conferences and initiatives on R&D, on innovating business models, on how to push LEV uptake, on how to encourage/help start-ups, on how to cooperate with the scientific/academic world, on setting up alliances with cities and citizens’ organizations, … And should that result in the conclusion that it may be useful to start up production in Europe, fine. But not defying all economic reality by bringing back production just out of nostalgia.

Ironically, in trying to preserve their position, these companies attack the wrong enemy. Importers, overseas producers, new companies applying new business models, … they are not the enemy.

Growing the market

Whilst the European industry files anti-dumping complaints and works hard to keep existing measures in place, an ever growing peloton of cities in Europe limits, sometimes even pushes combustion engine vehicles out. Every congestion charge, every low emission zone, every SUMP is a gift to the LEV-business. New markets are being opened, for free, every day all over Europe. But instead of tapping on that ever growing potential, a dumping complaint is filed, which prevents all parties in the sector to work on that potential.

Dumping cases are so time-consuming that hardly any time is left to do the work that really needs doing. LEVA-EU is trying to do that: work for better technical regulations, ask for attention in policies relevant to LEVAs, in European subsidy programmes, work to inform companies on the rules and on the market, ….

Our ultimate objective is to prove how counter-productive it is to use trade defence instruments for purposes other than what they are really meant for. If LEVA-EU can achieve that by supporting companies going against this counterproductive initiative, then we improve chances to get the whole sector around the table and start a serious discussion about how to grow the market for all instead of making only some pieces of the cake bigger.

We are open for any exchange of views on this LEVA-position.

Annick Roetynck,
LEVA-EU Manager

Collective of European Importers calls on European Commission to terminate case against Chinese e-bikes

Gent, Belgium 21 importers from 7 EU member states have joined forces for their defence in the anti-dumping proceeding on electric bikes from China. On 26 November, the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles has sent preliminary comments to the European Commission to counterargue the EBMA-complaint and to request to be considered an interested party in the proceeding. The Collective finds the evidence presented in the complaint for dumping, injury and causal link very feeble and unconvincing.

The Collective consists of a group of European importers, some of which have been on the market for a long time. They all share the intention and efforts to develop solid, successful and growing businesses. They have chosen to achieve this by developing long-term relationships with among others Chinese suppliers. In the comments sent to the European Commission, they voice their great concerns about the future of their businesses and the impact on European citizens, should the EU decide to impose anti-dumping duties on electric bicycle imports from China.

Comparing apples and oranges

The Collective opens its comments with the conclusion that the proceeding is based on European legislation, which is in breach of WTO-rules. The EU should have changed its legislation before the end of last year but failed to do so. Consequently, the EU is now using rules for this proceeding, which go against WTO regulations. Under the new legislation for instance, the use of analogue country will no longer be allowed. However, in this proceeding, the principle of analogue country is still applied. What’s worse, the European Commission goes along with EBMA’s suggestion to choose Switzerland as analogue country.

This is no less than comparing apples and oranges. Average monthly wages in China in 2016 were € 730, in Switzerland € 5,730. EBMA states explicitly that the case focusses mainly on EPACs, but chooses an analogue country with the relatively highest sales of speed EPACs in the world. In 2016, 22% of all electric bicycles sold in Switzerland were speed EPACs. The much more stringent technical rules for these vehicles than for EPACs are only one element in much higher price levels than for 25 km/h EPACs. But supplying the lower end of the market does not automatically mean dumping. EBMA ignores this world of difference between Chinese and Swiss EPAC production, which allows for the calculation of triple digit dumping margins (from 193% to 430%) based on normal values of in between € 1,782 and € 2,544. This is totally unrealistic.

Polluted statistics

As for the import/export data used in the complaint, something very peculiar is going on. EBMA rejects Eurostat import figures because they are “polluted”. According to EBMA, these figures include other products than electric bicycles, such as hoverboards and conventional bicycles sent to Europe under the CN code for electric bicycles. This allows for avoiding import duties and circumventing anti-dumping duties. The Collective fails to understand why EBMA, although aware of these illegal trade practices for more than 3 years, has taken no action whatsoever against them.

Instead a dumping complaint is built on export statistics provided by the custom services of a country that is being extensively accused of causing injury to the European industry, not only by dumping but also by subsidization. As the Chinese export statistics are listed “confidential” it is impossible to check out the data.

The injury evidence presented is just as debatable. In the considered period, electric bike consumption in the EU increased by 55%. Growing demand resulted in sales for both the EU producers and importers to go up. Sales by EU producers supporting the complaint increased by 45% in the period considered. Furthermore, employment in EU industry also improved: with 9% in 2015 and with almost 12% in 2016. Where to find proof of injury among all these positive results?

Competition to shrink

The reason why the Collective submits an extensive counter-argumentation is because the group believes that it is exactly potential anti-dumping duties that cause a threat of injury, more specifically injury to the European electric bike market and therefore to the European citizens

The Collective has the strong impression that this complaint is based on the ultimate objective to create a hidden non-tariff trade barrier, rather than tackling a real illicit trade practice. The EBMA represents companies, which to a large extent are active in mid- and high-range electric bicycles. There is a however also a considerable market for lower-range products. The Collective believes that the complaint is aimed at preventing non-EU producers to supply this market. Furthermore, should anti-dumping duties be imposed, this will ensure that Chinese producers are also prevented from being active in the mid- and high-range market. Because of the anti-dumping duties, Chinese producers will no longer be able to supply European importers with a competitive product in any of these ranges.

Achieving these two objectives, i.e. preventing Chinese supply for the low end as well as developing mid- and high range products, will result in shrinking competition, which in turn will bring about a reduction of choice and higher prices for European consumers.

Anti-circumvention case in the making

The complaint holds 19 references to Bosch and 17 to Bafang. Whilst extensive references are made to Bosch to make the case for dumping, Bafang is accused at length of among other things subsidization without any evidence being produced. Apart from the fact that subsidization allegations do not belong in an anti-dumping complaint, this argument strengthens the Collective’s impression that this complaint is an anti-circumvention complaint in the making.

The Collective warns that should anti-dumping duties be followed by anti-circumvention measures, then the whole European electric bicycles business, including the European producers of electric bicycles will sustain very considerable damage. The production of components for electric bicycles in Europe is by no means at a level to supply the demand that would result from anti-circumvention measures. The consequences of such shortage would be incalculable. Reduction of competition may well further deteriorate into the creation of monopolies.

Call to terminate

The Collective holds a deep belief in the potential contribution of electric bicycles and other light electric vehicles to sustainable mobility, as well as to the improvement of public health, combatting climate change, greening the economy, creating jobs, in short improving overall quality of life.

However, if the consumer is confronted with a lack of choice, because of trade restrictive measures, which are reducing competition, it is very likely that this consumer will turn away from electric bicycles and will rather continue using unsustainable means of transport to the detriment of our society as a whole.

In conclusion, the Collective is convinced that the complainant does not provide satisfying evidence for dumping, injury and causal link. Since the potential imposition of anti-dumping duties will seriously harm the electric bicycle sector in the EU as well as EU citizens and society, the Collective calls upon the Commission to terminate the proceeding without any further measures.


2002 speed pedelec type-approvals to become invalid on 1 January 2018

As of the 1st January 2018, the homologation of unsold speed pedelecs type-approved according to Directive 2002/24 will become invalid. These vehicles will have to be adapted according to the new requirements of Regulation 168/2013 or registered for end-of-series.

LEVA-EU can help you understand these rules and how they apply to your 2002 type-approved speed pedelecs. Contact Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, email, tel. +32 9 233 60 05 or go to this and this webpage to find out what else LEVA-EU has to offer.

At last: EN 15194:2017!

Source: Bike Europe
The very long-awaited revision of EN 15194 has finally been published and is already implemented by quite a few national standardization institutes. They have until 30th April 2018 to implement at national level, by publication of an identical national standard or by endorsement. This revised version of the standard for electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of 250 W is very different from the “old” standard.

The previous standard only covered the electrical part of the concerned e-bikes. For the mechanical part, producers were referred to the ISO 4210 standard for conventional bicycles. EN 15194:2017 now covers the complete electric bicycle. This change was made because the mechanical part of an electric bicycle needs more stringent requirements than a conventional bicycle.

Another essential change is the fact that EN 15194 is now harmonized under the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC). This means that if an electric bike complies with EN 15194, it is presumed to be in conformity with the Machinery Directive. This should make life for e-bike producers much easier. Whereas before they had to analyse the Machinery Directive themselves for relevant requirements, they can now rely on EN 15194:2017 for compliance with the legislation.

With that however, it is important to note that in most European member states compliance with EN 15194:2017 is not a legal requirement, compliance is voluntary. Compliance of electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and maximum 250W with the Machinery Directive is a legal obligation, as is compliance with the Product Safety, EMC, Low Voltage and RoHS Directives.

The revised standard also entails some major changes in the scope. Because ISO 4210 was not applicable to specialized types of bicycle such as delivery bicycles, recumbent bicycles, tandems, BMX bicycles, and bicycles designed and equipped for use in severe applications such as sanctioned competition events, stunting, or aerobatic manoeuvres, the old EN 15194 could not be applied to the electric versions of such bicycles either.
In the updated version, the scope is defined as follows: “electrically power assisted bicycles of a type which have a maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the EPAC reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling.”

Furthermore, electric bicycles intended for hire from unattended stations and electric bicycles of which the maximum saddle height is less than 635 mm are excluded from the scope of the standard. And since the standard only uses the term bicycle, electric tricycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and maximum 250W are now no longer covered by the standard. So, although the new standard makes life on most electric bike producers easier, it rather complicates life of tricycle manufacturers since they are left on their own for compliance with all above-mentioned Directives.

LEVA-EU can help you find your way in this new EN 15194:2017. Can you use it for your bikes? If not, how to comply with legal requirements for your bikes? What about certification and documentation? We have the answers to these and many more questions. And we know where you can find the text of the standard at the lowest price.
Contact Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, email, tel. +32 9 233 60 05 or go to this and this webpage to find out what else LEVA-EU has to offer.