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E-bikes from Mainland China Face Steep Duties of Up to 79.3%, But Escape Retroactive Imposition of Duties

As a new development in the EU anti-dumping investigation on electric bicycles (“e-bikes”) from mainland China, it appears that the Commission sent its final disclosure document to the stakeholders and parties which co-operated in these proceedings on 15 November 2018. As reported, the Commission intends to impose company-specific duties for six individual companies, which range from 10.9% to 63.2% for the anti-dumping duties and from 3.8% to 16.1% for the countervailing duties. The anti-dumping duties for other companies are grouped into four categories and range from 17.4% to 70.5%.

Unsurprisingly, EBMA applauded the EU’s proposal to impose definitive anti-dumping duties on e-bikes from China. Moreno Fioravanti, Secretary General of EBMA, stated that “European trade unions, bicycle manufacturers, small businesses and cyclists have made clear to the European Commission that the EU must act to stop the dumping of Chinese e-bikes” and that the Commission rightfully concluded that “consumer choice is not all about cheap prices but rather driven by other factors such as variety, quality, innovation, and service which can only be achieved under normal market conditions with fair and open competition”.

However, Leva-EU, a trade association of e-bike importers, expressed its strong concerns over the imposition of duties, describing the Commission’s plan to levy duties of up to 79.3% on imports of e-bikes from mainland China as “unfair” and “rigged with several fundamental inconsistencies”. According to Leva-EU, the imposition of duties will threaten further the development of clean mobility, lead to supply shortages and price increases, and destroy the livelihood of dozens of European importing SMEs.

The stakeholders and parties that co-operated in the e-bike investigation have up to 29 November 2018 to submit comments on the final disclosure. The deadline for imposing definitive anti-dumping and countervailing measures is 18 January 2019.

On 16 November 2018, it was also reported that EU importers of Chinese e-bikes will not face the retroactive duties that the EU was planning to impose to offset the surge in imports from mainland China. It appears that the European Commission dropped the plan after EBMA, on 8 October 2018, withdrew its requests to the Commission for e-bike imports from mainland China to be registered. While EBMA had not provided any reasons for the withdrawal of the requests, certain press releases have suggested that this was for technical reasons.

As previously reported in "EU Producers of E-bikes Withdraw Registration Requests in Dumping and Subsidy Case Against Mainland China" and "Registration of E-bikes from Mainland China Continues, Despite EU Producers’ Withdrawal Request" of the Regulatory Alert–EU, EBMA initially submitted its registration requests to the Commission in both the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on 31 January 2018. EBMA requested that imports of e-bikes be made subject to registration so that definitive anti-dumping and countervailing measures, if imposed, could be applied retroactively to those registered imports.

The Commission, convinced by EBMA’s arguments, adopted Implementing Regulation 2018/671, directing the national customs authorities to take the appropriate steps to register EU imports of e-bikes from mainland China as from 4 May 2018. This registration created the possibility for a retroactive application of potential definitive duties from 4 May 2018. The Commission stated that the registration would expire nine months following the date of entry into force of Regulation 2018/671, being on 3 January 2019. To officially end the registration and, as a consequence, the potential retroactive collection of duties, the Commission must publish a new Regulation. This is expected to come as a huge relief to many European companies.

As background, it will be recalled that, on 20 October 2017, the Commission initiated an anti-dumping investigation with regard to imports of “cycles, with pedal assistance, with an auxiliary electric motor” originating in mainland China. The Commission launched the investigation following a complaint lodged on 8 September 2017 by EBMA. This investigation is said to be one of the EU’s biggest trade defence cases, worth up to 400 million euros. On 21 December 2017, the Commission initiated a separate anti-subsidy investigation with regard to those same imports.

With regard to the anti-dumping investigation, through Implementing Regulation 2018/1012 the Commission imposed provisional anti-dumping duties ranging from 21.8 to 83.6% from 19 July 2018. With regard to the anti-subsidy investigation, the deadline for imposing provisional countervailing duties has already expired. The deadline for imposing definitive countervailing duties is 19 January 2019. Taking into account that this will be a Saturday, the Commission will likely impose the definitive countervailing duties on 18 January 2019, together with the imposition of the definitive anti-dumping duties.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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