EC electric bike ruling an “a protectionist abuse of defence instruments,” says LEVA-EU

Following yesterday’s European Commission declaration that provisional dumping duties will apply to Chinese electric bike imports into the EU, LEVA-EU, representing a collective of 22 importers, has slammed the ruling as an “abuse of trade defence instruments for protectionist reasons.”

Now set to go to court, numerous sources have conveyed to CI.N the difficulty in gaining access to the data used by the EBMA to make its case to the European Commission. This, we’re told, has made it next to impossible to create a defence case against as the Collective can’t be sure what ‘evidence’ it is fighting against. This, among other disparities outlined by the representative body LEVA-EU, is why the Collective has opted to take legal action.

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.”

A final decision on whether or not definitive duties are to be retroactively collected is expected around the end of this year. Starting at midnight last night, all Chinese electric bike stock landing in the UK is subject to provisional duties to be paid to customs.

Provisional duties run as high as 83.6% and open the door to definitive duties, that could be imposed around the end of this year. We are yet to learn whether retroactive duty will be collected from the registration date onwards.

This alone is likely to cause significant damage to importing businesses, believes LEVA-EU, indeed we are already seeing cases of businesses reshuffling their sourcing and assembly. With European importers finding it difficult to forecast based on the current legislative turbulence, further impact is expected to be felt in what was a fast growing jobs market.

In countering the measures, LEVA-EU has sought proof that injury has occurred to European electric bike manufacturers and assemblers, many of which have seen at least double digit growth in the time since the complaint.

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.”

It is highly likely that prices, particularly at the lower-end of the market will rise imminently, and indeed a number of importers have been rushing to land stock ahead of yesterday’s announcement in a bid to make the most of one last burst of summer trading at lower prices.

That stock is in high demand, according to multiple importers and a shortage is expected towards the end of summer.

Will this damage the entry-level of a currently blooming electric bike business? Perhaps you think the EC’s decision to impose duties fairly levels the playing field. Have your say by contacting the editor here.