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Bike industry, others, testify against proposed tariffs on European imports

Published May 16, 2019

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — While the U.S. trade war with China is getting the most attention, the U.S. is also engaged with a dispute with the European Union, and the bike industry is involved in both. On Thursday, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association was scheduled to testify in Washington regarding proposed new tariffs on some bike products from the EU.

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Matt Moore, counsel for Quality Bicycle Products and a board member of the BPSA, was scheduled to speak Thursday morning as part of a panel group at the U.S. International Trade Commission headquarters. Moore was part of a panel that also included representatives from the motorcycle industry. 

In a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative requesting an invitation for Moore to speak at the hearing, attorney Alexander Koff said QBP and the BPSA were opposed to proposed increased duties on alloy hubs, 3-speed hubs, single speed hubs and freewheel sprockets. Those items currently have no tariff if they come from the EU. Koff said adding tariffs would do little to curb the EU subsidies of Airbus that triggered the proposed tariffs. He also wrote that the tariffs "would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-sized businesses and consumers."

Several other members of the industry have submitted comments to the USTR in opposition to the proposed tariffs. Christopher Kreidl, the general manager of Euro Tool Works, LLC, an importer of Unior bike tools, commented that the proposed tariffs would affect hand tools that he imports from the EU. 

"We operate in a very price conscious area and my primary competitors source their tools from Taiwan and China, primarily," Kreidl wrote. "Our tools, being made in Europe, have a higher cost of production and as such we're already at a disadvantage when it comes to price. We attract our customers through our quality, but sadly that only goes so far when justifying a higher price.

"Euro Tool Works is not big enough of a company to absorb the cost of increased tariffs and we'd be left with no option other than to pass those on to our customers, ultimately costing us a significant amount of business," he said.

Kreidl continued, "The tariffs in question are a response to unfair practices. As a business operator with a deck stacked against them, I completely understand the desire for a level playing field, and I understand that the figures involved in this case are orders of magnitude larger than my business ever will be. With that said, it seems like such a broad swath of increased tariffs are akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater."

An anonymous commenter also opposed the tariff, saying they "would be detrimental to many small businesses that sell and repair motorcycles and bicycles and that sell accessories for these modes of transportation. These additional tariffs would also hurt the thousands of people that use the modes of transportation. The tariffs or any action should be with regard to the large aviation industry only and no other. These additional tariffs may very well cause many small businesses to close."

The comment period is open until May 28. Information on leaving comments is at regulations.gov/docket?D=USTR-2019-0003.

European hubs could become subject to a new U.S. tariff.
Topics associated with this article: Tariffs

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