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Customs ruling means e-bikes excluded from tariffs

Published January 12, 2020

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ruled that e-bikes fall under the same category as electric motorcycles and therefore share an exclusion, granted in September, from the Trump administration's Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports. The decision means importers of Chinese e-bikes are now exempt from paying the 25% tariff the administration imposed in August 2018. Importers should be able to collect previously paid tariffs as well.

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"These rulings bring much-needed clarity to lingering questions concerning current product exclusions and their application to e-bikes," said Alex Logemann, PeopleForBikes' policy counsel. "We are grateful to see additional complete bicycle categories beyond kid's bikes receiving badly needed relief from the Section 301 tariffs," he added, referring to the tariff exclusions for kids bikes granted in the last month. 

When the US Trade Representative announced the exclusion in September, it was at the request of an electric motorcycle importer. E-bikes have shared a Harmonized Tariff System import code with electric motorcycles and other two-wheeled electric vehicles, but the exclusion announcement, like most such announcement, cautioned that the exclusion was being granted specifically as written in the Federal Register, which said it applied to "Motorcycles with electric power for propulsion," with motors with less than 1000 watts of power. At the time, experts including Logemann cautioned that e-bike importers should await a clarifying ruling before assuming that the exclusion applied.

In December, Customs ruled on requests for clarification from Kent International and Allco Manufacturing, both of whom argued that e-bikes fall under the category of electric motorcycles and so should share the tariff exclusion.

Steven A. Mack, the director of Customs' National Commodity Specialist Division, replied to both requests, saying "The product description specifically described 'motorcycles' with electric power less than or equal to 1,000 Watts. You state the subject bicycles meet the power rating limitation and should be covered within the scope of the term 'motorcycles.' This office concurs," Mack wrote. 

Mack wrote that his office consulted Automotivedictionary.org and Motorera.com and found e-bikes fit their definitions of motorcycles. The exclusion applies to products imported from China under the HTS codes 8711.60.0050 or 8711.60.0090. The exclusion expires in August 2020. 

 

 

 

 

Kent sells Univega USA and Kent-branded e-bikes.
Topics associated with this article: Tariffs, Electric bike

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