European e-bike imports drop 30%

LEVA-EU has revealed the European import and export statistics for electric bicycles in 2019, with imports from outside the EU shrinking by around 30%.

In 2018, there were still more than one million electric bicycles with pedal assistance up and a power of no more than 250W imported into the EU. On 18th January 2019, the European Commission published its decision to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on electric bicycles, which had an immediate effect.

The decrease in EU imports was “entirely at the expense of China”, said LEVA-EU, which saw its result ‘decimated’ from 660,000 to just over 107,000. Taiwan exported 338,570 e-bikes into the EU, 80% more than the previous year. Vietnam ended second in the top ten of exporters, but its export only increased by 1.1% to just under 155,000. It is “very likely” that the Vietnamese result will be higher this year, said LEVA-EU, among other things due to the ratification of the free trade agreement with the EU.

Malaysia in 8th position grew its export to the EU to just under 11,000. Exports from Indonesia, on nine, remained relatively low at around 3,500, a result similar to that of the Cambodian export, which pushed the country from 7th to 9th position. Thailand booked a “modest” increase of just under 40% to a total of almost 16,000 and remained in 5th position. Turkey, in a customs union with the EU, imported around 13,000 bikes, which was almost 5.5 times more than in 2018. Last year, China lost in volume a total of 552,508 electric bicycles. The countries in the top ten (without Switzerland) have scooped up 37.7% of that loss, ie 208,493 bikes.

Switzerland is the country in the top ten that has exported the most expensive e-bikes to the European Union. The average value was €1,714, a 7.5% increase. In second place is Cambodia with €1,129, almost double the value of 2018. In third place comes Taiwan, which only marginally increased its average value with 5.5% to €1,055. The average value of imports from Thailand, Turkey and Indonesia all decreased with percentages under ten and ended up anywhere between €500 and €660.

The average value of e-bikes from Japan only reached €483, very close to the average Chinese value in 2018 of €443. In conclusion, the average value of the total European import increased with 38.7% to €836, said LEVA-EU.

With the imposition of duties on e-bikes from China, a number of Chinese assemblers and their customers moved their operations to Taiwan, which explains why import volume increased by 80%, LEVA-EU. “If there would have been dumping at a scale as argued by EBMA and endorsed by the Commission, then these accused Chinese assemblers would have dragged the average Taiwanese value down. The fact that the opposite has happened is quite telling,” it added.

With anti-dumping and countervailing duties up to almost 80%, mid- and high-range e-bikes produced in China obviously become unsellable in the EU, said LEVA-EU, and so the average value of e-bikes from China has dropped with almost 42% to € 258.

Last year, the EU has exported 138,000 e-bikes, a growth of almost 16%. The three main customers are Switzerland, Norway and the US. The average value, which was already high in 2018, increased with another 2.7% to €1,587. The total value of European exported e-bikes was €219 million, an increase of 19%. That is still about three times less than the total import value, which ended up at €629 million in 2019, almost 4% less than in 2018.

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