Following the announcement in the EU Official Journal, Annick Roetynck, manager of LEVA-EU stated:
“This is a deeply regrettable Commission decision, which goes directly against all the efforts of that very same Commission to achieve the EU’s climate goals. What’s more, it is also punishing the European citizens by limiting the offer of electric bicycles, which are bound to increase in price, just as European citizens start to embrace light electric mobility. The duties also have a devastating impact on a large number of European SMEs, whose livelihoods depend on the assembly e-bikes in China. Since there are not enough assembly facilities outside China readily available, many of these companies are now confronted with existential problems for which they have had no time to anticipate in their business planning. For the companies in the United Kingdom, this comes on top of the turmoil resulting from Brexit.
Although the duties only apply to complete e-bikes, they also complicate import of component parts for those companies that are trying to organize assembly in Europe. For several decades there have been 48.5% anti-circumvention duties on a number of essential bicycle components such as frames, forks, wheels, etc. imported from China. These duties do not apply if the components are not used for conventional bicycles but for electric bicycles. Customs’ authorities in many member states are not well informed on this exemption. They go against European rules by demanding payment of anti-circumvention duties for these parts. LEVA-EU is working hard to assist members who are confronted with this problem in their discussions with the customs’ authorities. Nevertheless, many of these companies feel “punished” twice by the European Commission.
The other reason for them to feel punished by the duties is because they are unfounded, protectionist, unfair, and absurd. The Commission has failed to prove injury to the plaintiffs, whilst these have been steadily thriving for years on end. The Commission’s decisive argument for these measures is the mere fact that EU Industry’s profitability should increase with 0.9% (!). To that end, the Commission is willing to sacrifice dozens of European SMEs for the benefit of just a few big players.
E-bikes represent a win-win situation: they are a sustainable means of transport, their use contributes to a healthy lifestyle and decreases carbon emissions. The Commission’s duties go against all of this and result in a zero sum game in which the European citizen is the big loser.
LEVA-EU and the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles want to thank all the decision-makers and MEPs who supported us and understood the severity of the situation. We will continue to fight this unjust measure.”