European manufacturer and importer BH Bikes comes out against e-Bike dumping tariffs

In the ongoing European Commission investigation into claimed injury by the European Bicycle Manufacturer’s Association in relation to electric bike shipments stemming from China, one European manufacturer with a stake in both importing and manufacture has surprisingly come out against the EBMA’s stance.

BH Bikes has, among others in the trade, submitted a publicly accessible position paper for the European Commission to consider as part of its investigation. BH operates as both a manufacturer in Portugal and an importer of Chinese electric bikes and is listed as member of the EBMA in its last published membership list.

On page eight of the submission, BH makes clear its position, stating that it is “impossible to conclude that there is any dumping,” based on costs on freight, R&D and production.

This proved that production costs do in fact constitute a – sometimes insurmountable – obstacle to offer moderate prices. This does not only refer to the costs of components depending on the origin of the technology, but also includes data on the purchase value from suppliers for each country, which shows that the costs in the PRC are very high (starting from a minimum of 25% difference). In addition to this, other costs have to be taken into account, such as R&D and freight costs. On the basis of these costs, it is impossible to conclude that there is any dumping,” writes BH.

Later in the document BH appeals to the Commission to not retroactively impose anti-dumping measures, something that is feared by many to have the potential to close importing businesses.

BH BIKES is against the possible retroactive imposition of definitive anti-dumping measures from the 4 May 2017, as (i) there is no evidence of stockpiling and (ii) the last orders were placed before the start date of the investigation,” offers the document.

BH Isn’t alone; Oxylane, part of the increasingly global Decathlon Group, is another of the EBMA’s members that finds itself in a difficult position. Decathlon is reported to sell between 60,000 to 70,000 Chinese made bikes and e-Bikes annually.

It is not possible to establish which EBMA members have introduced the complaint, since the organisation has requested the Commission to keep this information confidential, as according to the EBMA complaint, “they face a real and present threat of retaliation”.

In one of the position papers sent to the Commission, the Collective of Importers has addressed the issue of the involvement of EBMA-members in importing activities: “By participating in extensive import activities for e-bikes from China, the EU industry itself has enjoyed the luxury of sourcing Chinese e-bikes and parts to improve their economic performance. The Collective and its Members request the Commission to take into careful consideration the impact of these activities and whether or not: (i) the sampled EU producers themselves are actually form part of a real EU manufacturing industry for e-bikes; and (ii) the extent to which these EU enterprises have self-inflicted injury on themselves by engaging in these practices.”

The Collective of European Electric Bike Importers has before now pointed to the runaway success of businesses like Accell when it comes to electric bike sales generated via European assembly. In March of 2017 the firm said that e-Bikes accounted for 41% of its turnover.

Contrary to this argument, The EBMA’s case warns of a flood of electric bikes “into the EU at an alarming rate and artificially low prices.” The case bids to shield some 90,000 “green jobs” with around 900 SMEs in Europe.

EBMA secretary Moreno Fioravanti previously outlined his concern with the uptick in shipments from China, pointing to a low rate in 2010 exploding to hit 800,000 units in 2017.

Electric bike imports into the UK were up 56% like-for-like in Q1, though the proportion of electric bikes stemming from China dropped sharply in March on the bike of this turbulence, down 25% like-for-like. Over the past twelve months just over half of the UK’s electric bikes stemmed from China, often at the entry-level price bracket. An annual value of around £36.5 million is now attributed to imports from all sources. Germany and France are, thus far this year, the UK’s largest European e-Bike suppliers.

A secondary dumping case in relation to pedal cycle imports is now in motion, which you can read about here.

Does this topic affect your business? We’re keen to hear your views.