Rental e-bikes in Rotterdam in the Netheralands. Picture: 123RF/DANIEL KLOEG
Rental e-bikes in Rotterdam in the Netheralands. Picture: 123RF/DANIEL KLOEG

Brussels — Chinese electric bicycles will have to be registered in the EU in a move by the bloc to curb cheap imports that European manufacturers say are flooding the market.

The European Commission had sufficient evidence to show that Chinese manufacturers were dumping e-bikes — which have electric motors to help with pedalling — in Europe and were receiving subsidies, the EU’s official journal read.

In the latest in a series of EU studies into and measures against Chinese exports ranging from solar panels to steel, the commission has launched antidumping and antisubsidy investigations into e-bikes.

The registration system for e-bikes would allow eventual duties to be backdated to early in May, the EU journal read.

The European Bicycle Manufacturers Association (EBMA), whose complaints prompted the investigations, says Chinese companies are selling e-bikes in the EU at prices that are sometimes below the cost of production, aided by subsidies.

The EBMA had called for registration, arguing that a surge of low-priced imports could result in a stockpile before the main 2018 selling season, undermining the effect of potential duties.

The commission has until July 20 to determine whether to impose provisional antidumping duties. If imposed, they would also apply to the period during which imports are registered.

This would start on Friday, the journal read.

The Light Electric Vehicle Association in Europe, a group of retailers, distributors and producers opposed to measures, said the registration move was a setback, but that duties were not a certainty. Retroactive collection of them would be confirmed only by a final EU decision expected in January 2019.

Exports from Chinese producers, including Battle-Fushida, Aima and Tianjin Golden Wheel, rose 82% from November 2017 to February 2018, compared with the same period a year earlier, the journal read. Prices were 8% lower.

Taiwan’s Giant, one of the world’s largest bicycle makers with factories in China as well as the Netherlands, denied that imports rose substantially, the EU journal read.

The EBMA welcomed what it called a vital first step to defend the EU industry.