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Industry proposes tariffs be reduced because bikes are green

Published June 9, 2014

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Representatives from the bike industry and the advocacy group PeopleForBikes are proposing the U.S. tariffs on imported bikes be reduced or eliminated because bikes have a positive effect on the environment. 

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative held a hearing last week to hear from business groups prior to World Trade Organization talks about reducing tariffs for environmentally friendly products. 

The WTO already agreed in 2012 to reduce tariffs to 5 percent or less by 2015 on 54 categories of green products. Those categories include solar panels, gas and wind turbines, soot removers and catalytic converters. The U.S. will soon join a new round of negotiations with the WTO members over adding product categories to the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).

Bob Margevicius, Specialized’s executive vice president and a member of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association board, testified at the hearing for the BPSA and PeopleForBikes.

Margevicius argued that, in addition to the bicycle’s status as a green product, the current U.S. tariffs of up to 11 percent benefit no one since there is so little domestic bike manufacturing. 

The current high tariffs on bicycles and bicycle parts do not protect any significant domestic manufacturing. Rather they impose extra, unnecessary costs to anyone purchasing these products. It particularly impacts low-income individuals who are most likely to adopt bicycle transportation in lieu of more costly automobile transportation,” Margevicius said.

Margevicius said bikes and bike products are appropriate for inclusion on the list of green products that will enjoy reduced tariffs under the 2012 agreement.

The benefits of bicycling are significant, in terms of energy savings, relief of urban congestion and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle. Bicycles represent a zero-emissions form of transportation that offsets use of other, less clean forms of commuting, like the gasoline-engine automobile.”

The EGA talks are expected to start next month.

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