The bicycle industry is mobilizing for a 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made electric bikes and motors
Robert AnnisAug 16, 2018
President Trump’s trade war has hit the bicycle industry, and the growing e-bike market could be among its first casualties.
On August 23, the US government will begin collecting a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese-made goods. Some items, including GPS units for bikes, already had their tariffs go into effect in July. But a second round of tariffs, which targets both e-bikes and their electric motors (among many other items), has the entire industry mobilizing.
After several false starts, the e-bike market exploded last year. Sales exceeded $77 million, nearly double those of 2016. It’s the fastest-growing corner of the bike industry, and many insiders feel Trump’s trade war could kill it in its relative infancy.
“We will be working closely with our allies in the bike industry to make the case against these tariffs,” said Katy Hartnett, government relations director for the advocacy group People for Bikes. “This will take an all-hands-on-deck approach from the industry.”
Out of so many products, why single out e-bikes? Emily Davis, a spokesperson for the US Trade Representative (USTR), didn’t give a specific answer, but said the list was compiled based on “extensive interagency analysis, a thorough examination of comments and testimony from interested parties, and whether an alternative country source is available.”
Matt Moore, chair of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association’s legal committee and general counsel at Quality Bicycle Products, said e-bikes are likely an unintended casualty of the trade war, falling into the electric motorcycle category. “E-bikes are a relatively small percentage of the products under that code,” he said.