The Commission has announced the expiry of the measures against electric bicycles from China in the Official Journal. LEVA-EU is anticipating a review and potential renewal of the measures. In the meantime, the Kafkaesque legislation and the multiple actions by national customs services and OLAF, cause unacceptable disruption and damage to many European companies. Ahead of the review, LEVA-EU calls on all companies affected by the measures for evidence.
In the EU Official Journal of 2 May, the European Commission has published a notice of the impending expiry of the anti-dumping and countervailing measures against electric bicycles from China. This notice only results from normal procedural rules. The deadline for the current measures is 19 January 2024. Article 11.2 of the basic Dumping Regulation stipulates: “A definitive anti-dumping measure shall expire five years from its imposition (…), unless it is determined in a review that the expiry would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and injury. Such an expiry review shall be initiated on the initiative of the Commission, or upon a request made by or on behalf of Union producers, and the measure shall remain in force pending the outcome of that review.”
It seems a foregone conclusion that EBMA will request a review. However, the main question is what arguments the organisation will use to extend the measures for another five years.
In the past 4.5 years, EBMA has developed a surging discours on bringing industry back to Europe and especially on the large number of jobs that will come with it. The whole campaign culminated in a European Parliament Motion for a resolution on developing an EU cycling strategy which, very triumphantly announced that “the EU cycling ecosystem can scale up to 2 million jobs by 2030”.
Much, of course, depends on the definition of the ‘EU cycling ecosystem”, but the fact is that we are still very far from those targeted two million jobs. In a report on employment in the (e)bike business, CONEBI concluded that there were 155,00 jobs in 2021. Incidentally, it appears that the violins in the (e)bike business are not quite tuned in unison. In their 2022 market report, the German (e)bike industry association stated: “The ZIV anticipate no large-scale relocation of production (reshoring) to Europe at the current time. However, it does expect production in The EU to grow in importance.”
And, contrary to what EBMA might claim, the anti-dumping measures are all but helpful to achieve the objective of 2 million jobs, since they are a major obstacle in starting up new companies, whilst causing extensive damage to existing companies in the European Union.
EBMA shouts so loudly that the measures are absolutely necessary for “reshoring for better sustainability, more EU green jobs and EU investments/innovation”, that everyone, including the EU authorities seem to forget what dumping is really about. It is of course not about reshoring, green jobs nor about investments or innovation. The WTO defines dumping as “in general, a situation of international price discrimination, where the price of a product when sold in the importing country is less than the price of that product in the market of the exporting country.” Another important element of dumping is the injury it causes to the EU-industry. And here lies the crux of the matter: what is the European ebike industry? In the end, everyone does the same thing: buying parts and assembling them into electric bikes. The net result of the measures against China however is that one part of the European ebike “industry” proffers from the measures, while another part is getting severely injured.
The anti-dumping measures on electric bicycles from China have nothing to do with “a situation of international price discrimination“. They prove to be a huge barrier for those European companies that have had to find an alternative to assembly in China and equally for all those trying to start a new e-bike business in Europe since the introduction of the measures.
As for assembly in Europe, anti-dumping measures have become completely intertwined with the extension of anti-dumping measures on bicycle parts from China. Furthermore, the Commission has created a highly discriminatory legal distinction between companies that assemble both conventional and electric bicycles and those that assemble electric bikes only. Furthermore, the Commission has recently made it quite a bit more difficult to obtain an exemption for assembly of conventional and electric bicycles. The entire legislation is so complex that no manufacturer can be assumed to understand the rules on their own. Start-ups are forced to pay anti-dumping duties on electric bike components for quite a while, before obtaining the necessary authorization to be released from duties on components. Who can afford this?
However, after having paid duties on e-bike components, which according to Sabine Weyand, Director General of DG Trade are not subject to anti-dumping duties, they are then subject to extensive financial guarantees. In addition, shortly after introducing dumping duties on e-bikes from China, the European Commission also changed the rules of origin for imports of electric bikes from non-preferential origin countries overnight.
In the meantime, both national customs authorities and OLAF are constantly investigating companies, electric bike imports and assembling facilities in and outside Europe. The companies involved usually have no idea what they are suspected/accused of, nor are they given any information about the progress of the case. Some, meanwhile, have been waiting for news for three years and live with the threat of fines that may push them into bankruptcy, sometimes even imprisonment!
LEVA-EU has been working relentlessly to explain all legislation pertaining to this e-bike case. In meetings with the European Commission, we have explained the many aberrations an discrimination in the rules, the net result of which being that it’s virtually impossible to start-up a new e-bike business in Europe, while many existing businesses are under threat due to unfair rules. Ahead of the review, we will continue to do so. To this end, we want to draw up an inventory of as many cases as possible of European companies that are being investigated by customs and/or OLAF.
So, are you or have you been investigated by customs and/or OLAF and are you or have you been accused of for instance:
- Buying from a European supplier who is suspected of circumventing anti-dumping duties on electric bicycles from China
- Not paying anti-dumping duties on bike components for e-bike assembly
- Using incorrect HS codes to avoid anti-circumvention duties on bicycle components
- Assembling in the EU or buying from an assembler without an exemption or end-use authorization
- Illegal application of rules of origin for e-bikes that are produced outside the EU and China
We kindly request you to report your problems to LEVA-EU. We guarantee absolute confidentiality. Cases may be reported to LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck by phone, +32 475 500 588 or by mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can also book an appointment at the forthcoming Eurobike, here: https://calendly.com/annick_leva-eu/eurobike-meeting