Tag Archive: ebma

  1. 60 European SMEs request Commissioner Malmström to act against unsubstantiated dumping allegations

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    No less than 60 European SMEs from 13 different EU member states have sent a motivated request to Trade Commissioner Malmström. In the letter, the importing companies explain why the Commissioner should review the Commission’s intention to impose up to 79.3% duties on import of electric bicycles from China. The 60 companies label this plan as “an extremely severe punishment for unsubstantiated dumping allegations”.

    The request of the 60 SMEs is being supported by another 27 European companies that are active in the E-bike sector but don’t import electric bicycles from China. They are European producers of components, accessories, LEVs other than e-bikes, but also distributors, dealers, service providers, … All 87 European signatories together employ 1,419 people. The letter has received further support from non-European companies active in the e-bike sector as well as from Chinese e-bike assemblers. The signatories’ list holds a total of 176 names but is confidential.

    Unsubstantiated dumping allegations

    Dumping measures must always be founded upon three pillars: dumping on the EU market, injury to the EU producers and a causal link between the two. The most important argument for this request to Commissioner Malmström is the fact that the Commission has been unable to establish injury. On the contrary, the Commission itself has established economic performance indicators, which show that the EU producers are fit and healthy[i]:

    • Sales volume: + 21%
    • Production volume: + 29%
    • Production capacity: + 35%
    • Employment: + 40%
    • Labour costs: -10%
    • Profitability: + 25%
    • Investments: + 77%
    • Return on investment: + 103%

    The only extremely weak argument for the Commission to claim injury is the fact that the industry profitability was 3.4% in the investigation period (Sept. ’16 – Sept. ’17), whilst the Commission feels it should be 4.3% as it was in 2015.

    Abuse of TDI

    The 60 importers conclude that the Commission intends to impose duties up to 79.3% in order to allow the EU industry (31 companies according to the Commission) to increase its profits by a meagre 0.9% (percentage of sales turnover) at the expense of an estimated 150 European SMEs. According to the letter writers, this calls into question the whole economic efficacy of imposing such duties, resulting in extremely high costs and a huge impact on both Union importers and consumers, whilst the benefit to the Union Industry is outright marginal.

    The group warns the Commissioner that final duties will have an immensely negative effect on the whole European e-bike sector. Therefore, they call upon her to reconsider the proposed measures, which will only be for the benefit of a handful of EU companies “who are abusing a trade defence instrument to disturb the market and upset competition”.

    Final judgment

    On 18 December, the EU member state representatives in the Trade Defence Instruments Committee will meet to give their final judgment on the Commission’s proposal. The 60 SMEs have sent the same request to their respective representatives in the TDI Committee. The decision of the Committee on final measures comes under the examination procedure. This means that the committee’s opinion is delivered by a qualified majority (55% of member states representing at least 65% of EU population). All aspects of this Committee’s meetings are confidential.

    This letter marks the final effort of the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles supported by LEVA-EU to fight the Commission’s proposal for the imposition of dumping duties. The Collective will now await the Commission’s final decision, announced for January 2019, upon which they will confer on potential further actions.

    [i] PP 14-16 of the AD643 General Disclosure Document

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

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    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.

  3. Dumping case: EBMA’s fake news, alternative facts and false allegations

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    In a jubilant press release, EBMA welcomes the Commission’s intention to impose duties as the right measures to stop “injury to European e-bike manufacturers, as Chinese e-bikes have flooded the EU at an alarming rate and artificially low prices”. This is the introduction to a stream of fake news.

    According to EBMA, “the concealed costs of Chinese e-bikes and the injury to European industry and jobs are now revealed. Definitive trade defence measures will shield 90,000 EU workers and over 800 SME’s against unfair competition from China.

    The EBMA membership list published in 2013 in the Belgian Official Journal held 17 companies, none of them SME’s (<250 staff). Some of these companies don’t produce electric bicycles, others import electric bicycles from China and some have ceased to exist. That is who EBMA is representing, not even all 31 producers identified by the Commission as the Community Industry (Recital 65). EBMA has no right to speak in the name of “90,000 EU workers and over 800 SME’s” for the simple reason that there are no 90,000 workers and over 800 SME’s in the EU electric bike business.

    The SME’s are on the importing and distributing side. There may be a few companies with more than 250 employees importing electric bicycles from China, but not many, the absolute majority are SME’s and according to our estimates there are around 150 importers.

    EBMA’s fake news mentioning 90,000 EU workers and over 800 SMEs is completely in line with the collection of alternative facts that made up the complaint. The complainants are unknown; their identity had to be kept confidential to protect them from unknown risks and dangers. The dumping was established based on presumably illegally obtained statistics. The source of these statistics had to be kept confidential to protect the provider from unknown risks and dangers. These statistics allowed establishing a shrinking market share for the Union Industry. That shrinking market share is the only injury that could be established. All other economic performance indicators for the Union Industry were up.

    Another mind blowing statement in the press release is that “Even, the European Cyclists’ Federation representing consumers is against dumping because of its negative role in the development of electric bicycles, and as a consequence on the transition to a greener Europe.” In other words, the association representing European consumers agrees with measures that will reduce the offer, increase the prices and get in the way of innovation? We can only hope that ECF has checked out the proceedings properly to ensure that dumping + injury are real. And we also hope that EBMA has carefully consulted with ECF before making this remarkable position public.

    The Commission’s Disclosure Document also discloses astonishing false allegations by EBMA. Recital 28 is about whether electric bicycles with assistance up to 45 km/h (speed pedelecs) should be excluded from the product scope. EBMA claims that electric bicycles with assistance up to 45 km/h (speed pedelecs) must be included in the product scope because otherwise a “massive risk of circumvention of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures” may arise. These allegations are aimed at “economic operators (importers, traders)”, who may well import speed pedelecs and subsequently alter their software to limit them to 25 km/h.

    EBMA’s allegations addressed at importers and traders are intellectually dishonest, totally outrageous and grotesque. The most outrageous and grotesque aspect of the allegations is that EBMA, even before the final decision of the Commission in the anti-subsidy and anti-dumping proceedings, has the guts to insinuate that importers and traders will be circumventing. It is intellectually dishonest because speed pedelecs and electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h are subject to two sets of very different, technical requirements. Building a speed pedelec following one set of technical rules and then put it on the market as a 25 km/h conforming with another set,  can by no means ever be profitable.

    This concludes our anthology of fake news, alternative facts and fake allegations as produced by EBMA in this case.

  4. Dark days ahead as EU Commission discloses intention to impose duties

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    The Commission has sent the disclosure document for the anti-dumping proceedings to all interested parties, including the European Collective of Importers of Electric Bicycles. This document does not hold a final decision yet, but outlines what the Commission intends to do.

    In the disclosure document, the Commission is announcing the imposition of anti-dumping duties as listed in the table at the end of this article.

    With that, the Commission intends to accept EBMA’s request to withdraw registration and therefore not to pursue the retro-active collection of duties. However, this will only be 100% confirmed when the final Regulation on the case is published.

    Provisional duties will be collected from 18 July onwards, but only to the level of proposed duties, which is lower than the provisional duties.

    All interested parties can send comments to the Commission on this disclosure document until 12 o’clock on 26 November.

    The Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles will comment on the content of this disclosure document upon careful analysis. However, the Collective already wishes to state now that if the Commission is to go ahead with the proposed anti-dumping 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 and for all EU citizens who are using or intend to use an electric bike.

    The disclosure document is here: https://bit.ly/2Drh6C6

    Table 6 – Definitive measures

    Company Injury elimination level
    Bodo Vehicle Group Co., Ltd. 73,4 %
    Giant Electric Vehicle (Kunshan) Co., Ltd; 24,8 %
    Jinhua Vision Industry Co., Ltd and Yongkang Hulong Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. 18,8 %
    Suzhou    Rununion    Motivity Co., Ltd. 79,3 %
    Yadea Technology Group Co., Ltd 62,9 %
    Other co-operating companies in the anti-dumping investigation which also co- operate but were not sampled in the parallel anti-subsidy investigation (Annex I) 33,5 %
    Other co-operating companies in the anti-dumping investigation, but not cooperating in the parallel

    anti-subsidy investigation (Annex II)

    33,5 %
    Non-cooperating companies in the anti-dumping investigation, but cooperating in the parallel

    anti-subsidy investigation (Annex III)

    79,3 %
    All other companies 79,3 %
  5. Urgent appeal to all importers hit by registration in China dumping case

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    If your company has imported electric bicycles from China between 4 May and 18 July, then you could potentially be subject to retroactive collection. Even though EBMA has withdrawn its request for registration, the Commission still has the competence to apply retroactive collection of duties. The Commission must annul the registration by a separate measure to stop the process. However, the Commission plans only to consider the request “in the final assessment of this case“. This means that the threat of retroactive collection continues for all companies having imported electric bicycles from China between 4 May and 18 July.

    A while ago, two members of the Collective have initiated a lawsuit against the Commission’s decision on registration. This lawsuit has been officially published in the European Official Journal of 24 September. The Collective is continuing this court application against registration, since it is the only solution to offer importers the best possible protection from retroactive collection.

    Should the court case prove to be necessary and successful, only companies that have come forward as intervenors will be able to obtain exemption from the retroactive collection of duties. That is why the Collective is giving importers, who may get hit by registration and are not part of the Collective, the opportunity to join the legal initiative by coming forward as intervenors. 

    LEVA-EU strongly recommends all companies, having imported from China between 4 May and 18 July, to come forward as an intervenor in the lawsuit against the Commission. Companies who wish to join this initiative should immediately contact LEVA-EU Manager, Annick Roetynck, (tel. +32 9 233 60 05 , email leva-eu@telenet.be) for further information on the terms and conditions to become an intervenor. They will need to provide some documents by 29 October.

  6. EBMA withdraws registration request in dumping case

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    In a letter, dated 8 October, the European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Assocation (EBMA) has informed the European Commisson that they wish to withdraw their request for registration of imports.

    EBMA had introduced this request earlier this year, upon which the Commission published a Regulation on 2 May 2018 in which they confirmed the registration. This created the possibility for retroactive collection of duties between 4 May and 19 July 2018. In that period quite a number of European companies still had containers on the water. To them, the potential retroactive collection of duties hung like a sword of Damocles over their head.

    To officially end the registration, the Commission must publish a new Regulation. That publication would finally put an end to potential retroactive collection, which would come as a huge relief to many companies in Europe.

    The EBMA letter comes shortly after the third hearing the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles had with the Commission. In that hearing, they presented the Collective’s calculations on the injury to importers directly resulting from the proceeding itself. According to the Collective’s estimates, that injury amounts to an average of € 605,000 per company. Based on a very conservative assumption of around 150 importing companies in Europe, that would mean that the total injury caused by the proceedings alone already amounts to more than € 90 million. This amount does not include provisional duties or potential retroactive collection.

    It is unclear whether there is a link between the Collective’s statements on injury at the hearing and EBMA’s decision to withdraw the request for registration. It will, in any case, come as a great relief for many companies.

  7. European Commission slams provisional anti-dumping duties of up to 83.6% on e-bike imports from China

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    LEVA-EU and the Collective of Importers deeply regrets Brussels’ decision to impose provisional duties which may well deal a decisive blow to several European companies in the e-bike market, limiting consumer’s choice and forcing Europeans to foot the bill.

    A final decision on definitive duties, whether or not to be retroactively collected is expected around the end of this year. LEVA-EU and the Collective are determined to continue to fight this case. LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck states: “This is only one battle lost,  we haven’t lost the war. From our first analysis, we conclude that the Regulation holds many inconsistencies and omissions. All these will be thoroughly addressed in the Collective’s official response to the Regulation.

    What’s happening? Following a complaint brought by the European Bicycle Manufacturer’s Association (EBMA) on 8 September, the European Commission opened an investigation into imports of e-bikes from China on 20 October 2017. This complaint as well as the procedure are heavily contested by a Collective of 22 importers, managed by LEVA-EU. Since 4 May 2018, the European Commission imposed the registration of all new e-bike imports with the competent custom authorities. The imposition of today’s provisional duties of up to 83.6% opens the door to definitive duties, that could be imposed around the end of this year and which may or may not be collected retroactively from the registration date onward.

    The Commission’s provisional duties are absurd as so far no evidence of dumping has been established:

    • The complainant has failed to prove any injury to the European e-bike industry. All so-called European manufacturers have seen double digit growth over the last few years and are bound to continue profiting from this expanding market.
    • Most e-bike components are imported from China, and then only assembled by European “manufacturers”. This assembly procedure amounts to €25 to €35, and that is the only difference between so-called European “manufacturers” and “importers”.

    The Commission will only decide if and what proportion shall be collected in its final decision. However the registration, which includes the threat of retroactive collections, already has a devastating effect on European e-bike businesses and on jobs, and will only be exacerbated by the provisional duties. Since the registration European importers are in turmoil, left with total uncertainty as to what to base on their short and longer term business plans. Many of these companies may find it difficult if not impossible to obtain the bank guarantee, necessary to avoid effective payment of provisional duties.

    Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, said: “This is a clear case of abuse of trade defence instruments for protectionist reasons, and importers have been punished before a verdict has even been reached. This baseless and opaque procedure is severely injuring many small and medium sized European businesses as well as the growing e-bike market in Europe. We filed an application for annulment of the registration regulation with the General Court of the EU on Tuesday 10 July. Nevertheless, the Commission seems to be determined to go ahead with this procedure and working towards the impositions of definitive duties, despite having violated the importers’ due process on several occasions already.

    The Regulation on provisional duties is here: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/july/tradoc_157124.prov.en.L181-2018.pdf

  8. LEVA-EU participates in CCME Brussel’s press briefing

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    On 18 April, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) organized a press briefing in Brussels. CCCME reported on the meeting with the European Commission that took place earlier that day and explained the position of the Chinese E-bike industry in the dumping case.

    LEVA-EU attended the press briefing on behalf of the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles. A select group of high-level journalist, mainly representing general press such as Politico, M-Lex, the Financial Times, de Telegraaf, …, asked a lot of questions. On behalf of the trade press, Bike Europe’s Deputy Editor in Chief, Jack Oortwijn, was atteding too.

    In the meantime, he has published an illuminating article on the Bike Europe website, see: http://www.bike-eu.com/laws-regulations/nieuws/2018/4/striking-issues-surface-in-china-e-bike-dumping-case-10133622 In this article, he quite correctly concludes that the issue of the Chinese statistics is the key issue in this case. EBMA is building its complaint on Chinese statistics, which they keep confidential because they obtained them by paying a fee.

    In the meantime, LEVA-EU has published a reaction on this on the EBMA-website to further clarify the issue. The response is as follows:

    “LEVA-EU was at the CCCME press briefing yesterday on behalf of the Collecitive of European Importers of Electric Bicycles. As a result, we would like to further clarify what was precisely said about Chinese export data. It is not quite correct that, as stated in the article, Chinese government regards the data as confidential. Under the Chinese 8 digit export code HS 87119010 (????? – diandongzixingche), there are general export statistics ????? – diandongzixingche, which means electric self-propelling vehicles. These statistics are not accurate to determine the export of electric bicycles, because they also include other electric self-propelling vehicles such as for instance monowheels, electric scooters, hoverboards, etc. Under the Chinese 10 digit export code HS 87119010, all details about the individual export transactions are available, such as name of exporter, type of product, export value, etc. It is this information under this 10 digit export code, which the Chinese government regards as confidential. There is nothing exceptional about this, Eurostat does not provide any commercial details on the general import statistics either.

    The problem that the Collective is confronted with is that EBMA is building the whole case on statistics under this 10 digit export code. EBMA claims that they have been able to obtain these statistics against a fee. This allegedly has allowed them to sift the statistics and present Chinese exports of electric bicycles only. However, EBMA claim that they cannot disclose the identity of the information provider because “it would be of significant disadvantage to the party providing the data“. EBMA further states: “Disclosure of the source would manifestly and irresponsibly expose an unrelated third party service provider to potential economic retaliation because it has provided data to EU complainants in this significant anti-dumping investigation.” The Collective has on several occasions requested the Commission to disclose the identity of the provider because that it is the only way to allow the Collective to check the statistics on which the EBMA is basing the whole case. All this raises the question as to how this “unrelated third party service provider” was able to obtain and sell information, which is classified in China. And another key question is: why not just using Eurostat-statistics, since Eurostat is the official data supplier of the European Union.

    Finally, in the article it is stated: ” there’s no cost difference between making e-bikes in China or in Europe”. This should be read as there is no difference in purchase price from assemblers in China or from Europe.”


  9. Collective sends 2nd protest against registration to Commission

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    The Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles has sent a second, exhaustive position paper to the European Commission further objecting to the possible registration of imports. That registration has been requested by EBMA and, if granted by the European Commission, would allow for retroactive collection of anti-dumping duties. The Collective has reiterated and further detailed its arguments against the EBMA position.

    EBMA continues to build on unverifiable, Chinese export data to establish the so-called stockpiling, that requires registration. As a result, EBMA claims huge increase of Chinese exports in December 2017, January and February 2018. EBMA has consistently asked the Commission to treat these Chinese statistics as confidential information, since they allegedly have paid a fee to obtain the numbers. The Collective asks the Commission to disclose the identity of the data provider, which will also allow the Collective to obtain and verify the data for a fee.

    Improper assessment

    However, the Chinese export statistics are not supported by Eurostat statistics. The Collective believes that this is due to the fact that the EBMA does not use the proper method for assessing the need for registration. Eurostat reports average monthly import volumes of around 68,670 units for the investigation period and an average of 59,200 in the three months following the initiation of the anti-dumping investigation. Even imports in January 2018, at 64,020 units, were lower than the average for the investigation period. So, the proper method for assessing the need for registration shows no surge in additional import volumes and/or stockpiling and therefore no need whatsoever for registration.

    Stockpiling practically impossible

    The Collective further argues that it is practically impossible for its members to stockpile in view of the way they work. They do not buy electric bikes off the shelf but have them tailor made, which involves very long lead-times, especially for the parts to come in. These parts are in very high demand, since they are not only used for e-bike production in China but just as well for the European production of e-bikes. Even if an importer would have responded immediately to the Notice of Initiation (Oct. 2017), bikes ordered then will only be delivered well into 2018.

    Nevertheless, EBMA claims that there exists an almost two year history of dumping which somehow indicates that EU importers should have been aware that dumping was taking place.  EBMA relies on “rumours” about a potential anti-dumping complaint in the trade press back in Autumn 2016 to support the existence of such knowledge. Conveniently, however, EBMA omits that it expressly scotched such rumours at the end of November 2016 when it responded to them saying: “There is not any current EBMA request, nor – in EBMA’s knowledge – any new investigation at the European Union Commission at present. The rapidly growing imports from China to the EU are being monitored through Eurostat.”  (Bike Europe, 29/11/2016)

    No (threat of) injury

    Conspicuously, the EBMA does not address any of the analysis provided by the Collective  in its previous submission showing the absence of injury to the EU industry. As an example, in the 2017 financial report, the Accell Group notes first that it is one of the largest, if not the largest EU producers of e-bikes, and therefore potentially the price leader, and then confirms robust growth in its e-bike sales in the EU. Overall, for the Accell Group, turnover for e-bikes increased by 90% over a period almost commensurate with the injury investigation period. The growth in turnover between 2016 and 2017 was 30%. These results clearly do not indicate any injury measured in terms of revenues for e-bikes for this Group. The Group also states that it recorded a further increase in its order intake for 2018. Since future order intake is a crucial element of assessing actual injury or a threat thereof,  the fact that publicly available information indicates that one of the largest EU e-bike producers has a healthy order intake, points strongly to no such threat, contrary to the EBMA’s claims.

    Importing EBMA-members

    Finally, the Collective questions whether a significant number of EBMA’s members can actually be considered as part of the EU industry, because they themselves are significant importers of electric bicycles from China. It is relatively clear from the Commission’s non-confidential files that Prophete is a related importer for one of the sampled EU producers. Another EBMA-member, BH is part of the importers’ sample. As for Oxylane, it is part of Decathlon which, as reported by Bike Europe(16/01/2018), sells 60,000 to 70,000 electric bikes per year which are currently being produced in China.

    Therefore, the Collective requests the Commission to carefully consider the impact of these activities. It also raises the question as to  whether the sampled EU producers are actually part of a real EU manufacturing industry for e-bikes and to what extent EU enterprises have self-inflicted injury by engaging in these practices.

    Damage to importers

    The Collective is convinced that registration of imports will inflict further and disproportionate damage to EU importers. It would have an unjustified chilling effect with potential cancellation of deliveries, because EU importers cannot reasonably assess the risk involved in retroactive collection of duties at a completely unknown duty rate.

    The European Commission has until 20th April to decide on registration, which creates the possibility of retroactive collection. However, should registration be imposed, duties will only be collected on condition that the Commission decides for definitive dumping duties. That decision is still a long way off.

    For the full text of the Collective’s submission and/or any further details, please contact Annick Roetynck, tel. +32 9 233 60 05, email leva-eu@telenet.be 

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