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Environmental Goods Agreement negotiations stall

Published December 7, 2016
PeopleForBikes says global tariff reductions on bicycles and components are unlikely to be enacted soon.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — International negotiations to reduce tariffs on products that help the environment — including bikes and components — have stalled.

For the past two years, the United States and 16 other World Trade Organization countries have been negotiating an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) to reduce tariffs on products that help improve the environment (see related BRAIN article). PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association have worked to advocate for the inclusion of bicycles and bike components in this pact.

PeopleForBikes said this week that negotiations have reached an insurmountable impasse and are stalled indefinitely. Bicycles and parts rank among the most contentious products on the proposed tariff relief list. China supported their inclusion, while the European Union opposed.

PeopleForBikes' board of directors sent several letters supporting tariff relief for bicycles to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Bob Margevicius, executive vice president of Specialized, testified before the U.S. Trade Representative and the WTO partners. PeopleForBikes also coordinated a series of executive fly-ins in which bike industry leaders advocated for the EGA with key members of Congress.

Margevicius said, "Inclusion of bicycles and their components in the Environmental Goods Agreement would have helped expand market opportunities for the U.S. bicycle industry both here in the United State and with partner countries. Unfortunately, a final agreement could not be reached."

BPSA board chair Adam Micklin said, "The tariff relief that the EGA could have provided would have helped more Americans buy a bicycle to take advantage of the growth of great bicycle infrastructure in communities across the country."

PeopleForBikes president Tim Blumenthal said, "More than 98 percent of bicycles sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas. Most are subject to a high tariff rate of 10 to 12 percent. An EGA with tariff relief for bike products would have helped U.S. bike sales, contributed to riding participation, and benefited most of the companies that are engaged in this business."

The other participants in the EGA negotiations are Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Chinese Taipei.

 

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