Without citing sources, China Daily newspaper reports that the European Commission is to impose a 48.5 percent ‘anti-dumping’ tariff on Chinese bicycle imports.
"Chinese enterprises are still making every effort to gain a better result," Hu Xiaofeng, an official with the China Bicycle Association told the China Daily.
Hu said the China bicycle manufacturing industry was complementary with that of European countries as they focus on low and high end respectively.
Most cheap Chinese bicycles imported into the UK end up in supermarkets or on garage forecourts, not in quality bike shops. However, the same cannot be said about mid-range Vietnamese bicycles.
Many UK brands have their bicycles manufactured in Vietnam although production is being switched to Malaysia and Eastern Europe in anticipation of the expected 34.5 percent tariff on Vietnamese-made bicycles.
The European Two-wheel Retailers’ Association is in favour of dumping duties for Chinese bikes, but not for bikes produced in Vietnam.
In a statement, ETRA said: "In 2003, over 43% of the Vietnamese import into the EU was sold to the UK. Compared to 2002, the EU import rose with 645,296 bicycles. The UK accounted for more than 75% of that increase, since the British import of Vietnamese bicycles grew from 103,431 to 591,588 units."
ETRA believes a dumping duty on Vietnamese bikes will harm the independent bicycle dealer (IBD) sector and lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers, especially in the UK:
"If the application of anti-dumping duties should result in a sudden decline of Vietnamese imports into the EU, that may well result in a restriction of competition. In those countries, which import branded and private label bikes, such a decline cannot be compensated at short notice. Importers cannot move from one subcontractor to another just like that. Dealers cannot switch from one brand to another that easily. As a result, a number of jobs in the IBD-sector will be in the balance whereas consumers will be confronted with a restricted offer, higher prices and less choice with regard to price range."