European Commission’s duties on e-bikes to destroy European SMEs

2016 days ago

3 minutes

Last week’s General Disclosure Document outlines duties of up to 79.3% ad valorem for e-bikes imported from China. The move will threaten further development of clean mobility, lead to supply shortages and price increases, and destroy the livelihood of
dozens of European importing SMEs.

The Commission’s draft decision (GDD) constitutes the preamble to definitive duties due before the end of the year. LEVA-EU and the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles have systematically decried this unfair and absurd case rigged with several
fundamental inconsistencies:

  •  There is no proof of injury, and the threat of injury does not justify the imposition of duties. The Commission examined the EU industry performance in the period 2014-2017, finding +28% production volume, +34% production capacity, +20% sales volumes, +40% employment for the EU industry (GDD pp. 14-16). The loss of market share is the only argument the Commission would have, but this
    argument is based on allegedly illegally obtained Chinese statistics.
  • The Commission will hit dozens of European SMEs for the minimal profit increase of European manufacturers. The only reason why the Commission is imposing the duties is because the European e-bike industry had a profitability of 3.4% in 2017, instead of 4.3%, which is a target profit randomly decided on by the Commission (GDD Recital 165). What’s more, the Commission openly states (GDD Recital 141) its willingness to sacrifice what they call “small importers” for this purpose.
  • There is a wilful misinterpretation of survey data by the Commission. An online survey conducted by LEVA-EU showed that the proceedings were causing EU importers considerable damage. LEVA-EU collected further and more detailed information on this damage from 14 European importers in the Collective. From all this, LEVA-EU estimated that the ongoing proceedings alone had caused the European importers €90 to €100 million unanticipated costs on top of the provisional duties. This was presented to the Commission at a hearing, but in the GDD the Commission published a completely false report on these surveys. This allowed the
    Commission to come to the distorted conclusion that adverse effects on importers would be mitigated by the availability of e-bikes from other markets (GDD Recital 138), a fundamentally flawed conclusion.

LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck stated: “We strongly condemn the Commission’s findings. This case was started because EU “manufacturers” are unable to cope with changing distribution patterns and growing competition. They are only looking to close the
market, and the Commission is helping them even though there is no dumping and clearly no injury to European manufacturers. If the Commission goes ahead with the proposed duties, this will exacerbate the damage already done to European importers and mark the
start of dark days for the whole European electric bicycle sector, EU climate targets, and for all EU citizens who are using or intend to use an electric bike.

Annick Roetynck

Annick is the Manager of LEVA-EU, with decades of experience in two-wheeled and light electric mobility.

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