Chinese electric bike producers on Wednesday fought against a European Union trade investigation, calling on the EU not to penalise consumers.
Representatives from the China Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), a trade organization on behalf of Chinese producers, participated in a hearing held by the European Commission on the ongoing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations of electric bicycles imported from China in Brussels.
The imposition of duties would harm large parts of the European industry, which is dependent on imports of parts from China, as well as European consumers by reducing choice and driving prices up, impeding the development of clean mobility and efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the EU, CCCME representatives said.
"The potential imposition of tariffs would be detrimental to Chinese producers and EU consumers alike, and would deprive Europe of a sustainable e-mobility solution. We hope the European Commission will take this into account and come to a fair and reasonable decision." said Chen Huiqing, director of the legal service department of CCCME.
After complaint from the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA), regarding imports of "cycles, with pedal assistance, with an auxiliary electric motor" from China, the Commission opened an investigation into the alleged unfair trade practice of Chinese e-bike manufacturers in October 2017.
EBMA proposed that Switzerland should be used as "a country with a similar level of economic development" to China so as to measure whether Chinese e-bike producers engaged in dumping.
The Chinese producers said the choice of Switzerland as analogue country is inappropriate and does not provide for a fair comparison for calculation of dumping. They say there are fundamental differences between China and Switzerland regarding the level of economic development, cost of production, and e-bike market segment, whereas Switzerland mostly sells high-end e-bikes, which are not the focus of the Chinese exports.
Chinese e-bike producers added that unlike other trade complaints, there is no overcapacity in China's e-bike industry. Export volumes are customised and based on the EU demand, while more than 95 percent of China's e-bikes are sold to the domestic market.
"China has a uniquely strong biking culture and in the past few years, the e-bike industry has been developing rapidly. Chinese companies gained the know-how and have been continuously improving their competitiveness in the international market. That should not be confused with dumping." said Song Bo, Director of the Information Department of China Bicycle Association.