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Washington to impose tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese imports — no word yet if bikes will be included

Published March 22, 2018

WASHINTON, D.C. (BRAIN) — President Trump announced Thursday he was beginning to take steps toward imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports. The move is motivated by the administration's belief that China has a history of forcing U.S. companies to surrender intellectual property and trade secrets to do business in China. The punitive tariffs are an attempt to redress this balance.

Trump has tasked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to announce over the next 15 days the list of products to be hit with the tariff increases and to allow public comment. Without seeing a list of Harmonized Tariff Schedule codes — the 10-digit import classification system — that will receive the additional tariff it is hard to know what bicycle-specific goods are targeted, if any.

The Outdoor Industry Association and 16 other trade associations sent a letter to Trump expressing "our very strong opposition to any tariff increases on U.S. imports of consumer products, such as clothing, shoes, home goods, fashion accessories, or travel goods from China." At the time the letter was published no bicycle industry associations had signed on.

Most bicycle parts and components are low-tech and would seem to be outside of retaliation for stolen U.S. technology. However, composite bike frames, forks and parts are arguably a U.S. invention, with a long manufacturing history from the 1960 Bowden Spacelander, Steve Bishop's work at Huffy, Exxon Graftek, Kestrel, Craig Calfee and others. A similar argument could be made for electric cyclocomputers launched by Avocet.

The administration's 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs that are to be put in place on Friday, seem to be weakening. Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee today that certain countries will receive temporary tariff exemptions while they argue for permanent tariff exemption. These countries include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea and members of the European Union. Trump had already granted exemptions to Mexico and Canada when he signed the tariffs earlier this month.

 

Topics associated with this article: Trade/tariffs

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