EU votes to keep whopping tax on Chinese bikes

48.5% import duty is designed to prevent 'dumping'

The European Union has voted to maintain its ‘anti-dumping’ tax on bikes from China for another five years, to protect the domestic cycling industry from cheap imports.

Import tax of 48.5 percent must be paid on all bikes from the People’s Republic of China to avoid 'dumping' – an economic practice where companies deliberately undercut competitors' prices to establish a monopoly and force them out of business.

Even after payment of this tax, Chinese imports continue to undercut domestic prices by around 53 percent, according to a recent investigation by the European Commission. Furthermore, many Chinese bikes are being rebranded and repackaged in countries such as Sri Lanka and the Phillipines to avoid paying the duty.

MEPs voted to maintain the current import tax for a further five years after a complaint was lodged by the European Bicycles Manufacturers Association (EBMA), whose members account for more than a quarter of bicycle production within the EU and include the massive Netherlands-based Accell group, France’s Decathlon and Germany’s Derby.

Mark Bickerton, president of the UK's Bicycle Association and agent for Tern folding bikes, told BikeRadar: "The Bicycle Association takes a neutral position on anti-dumping duty as we have members who take both sides. However, Tern are broadly in favour of anti-dumping duty as a mechanism that levels the playing field." Mainland China is now the world's largest cycle manufacturer, with Taiwan in second place.

What do you think? Are cheap bikes a good way to make cycling accessible to all or does the 'stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap' approach backfire, with people being put off riding by poor quality bikes? Have your say in the comments box below:

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