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Duty Change Could Raise Cassette Prices

Published March 22, 2011

MONTGOMERYVILLE, PA (BRAIN)—A duty change could raise the price of certain cassettes to importers, and ultimately dealers and consumers, by 10 percent.

The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protections recently reclassified cassette style multiple free-wheel sprockets to the residual bike parts category, which carries a 10 percent duty. The cassettes had previously been duty free. Freewheel hub bodies do not carry any duties.

The reasons for the change are unclear and inappropriate, said Brock Landry, an attorney advising the Bicycle Parts Suppliers Association (BPSA) on the matter.

“It’s unusual I would say that a product that has been consistently classified over a number of years suddenly goes through a reevaluation,” he said.

Landry said he knows of several companies that have been notified of the duty change by Customs. Importers subject to the duty have two options to contest the change, one requesting further administrative review and another challenging the issue in court.

“That’s costly. It takes a considerable amount of time and the government has the presumption of correction,” Landry said. Although, he added, he has tried a number of inappropriate duty changes and calls can be overturned.

The BPSA has not yet made any formal challenges on behalf of its members regarding the duty change, Landry said.

Quality Bicycle Products has already informed its customers on its website about an increase in cassette prices due to the change.

—Nicole Formosa

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