EU extends import duties on Chinese bicycles

08:37, July 25, 2011      

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The European Union is set to extend import duties on Chinese-made bicycles and parts until 2014, according to a document seen by Reuters, in a move that may anger Chinese exporters and worsen EU-China trade ties.

EU trade officials proposed a three-year extension to the duties, less than the five years requested by European producers just days after World Trade Organization rulings raised the prospect of new legal wrangling with China over export practices and EU methods for taxing imports.

"The current expiry review has confirmed the complexity of the bicycle sector... Therefore it is appropriate to limit the current measure to three years," said the document.

European bicycle makers had asked the EU authorities to extend the anti-dumping duties of up to 48.5 percent until 2016, to counteract what the EU has said is illegal export pricing by Chinese producers.

Zhang Peisheng, senior commissioner for the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, criticized plans to keep duties in place.

"The proposal of the European Commission to extend the duties for another three years is totally unwarranted... It simply defies the basic laws of economics," Zhang said on a Brussels visit aimed at changing EU minds on the duties.

Representatives of EU governments are due to discuss the extension proposal and are expected to approve it during a closed-door meeting in Brussels next week. If approved, the extension must begin by mid-October.

European Commission officials declined to comment on the extension.

China exported nearly 700,000 bicycles and had total bicycle-related exports to the EU worth 430 million euros ($610 million) in 2009, despite the EU anti-dumping duty.

The duties, first imposed in 1993, have frustrated Chinese attempts to gain greater market share in Europe, where sales of bicycles and parts total about 5 billion euros a year. Duties have gradually increased over 18 years.

The European Bicycle Manufacturers' Association (EBMA), which represents an industry employing around 20,000 people, mostly in Germany and Italy, had asked the EU to extend the duties for a further five years.

In its complaint, registered with the Commission in early 2010, EBMA said allowing duties on Chinese imports to expire would result in more "dumping" of bicycles and bicycle parts by Chinese exporters, damaging Europe's industry.

Europe produced more than 13 million bikes and 1.6 billion euros of bike parts in 2008, according to industry group Colibi. The average price of bicycles ranges from 680 euros in the Netherlands to 100 euros in Europe's eastern member states.

Source:China Daily
 
 
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