A Venice e-bike producer has had over €2m of assets seized by police following an investigation into “aggravated smuggling”. The firm in question is said to have evaded the payment of anti-dumping and customs duties by importing complete e-bikes from China, but unassembled, in separate shipments.
First introduced by the EU in 1993, anti-dumping measures involve the imposition of a 48.5 per cent tariff on bikes and e-bikes made in China.
The duty was introduced to prevent China from flooding the EU market with cheap e-bikes, forcing local manufacturers out of business and costing jobs.
The rules also apply to several other countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tunisia) which Chinese manufacturers have tried to use to circumvent the measures.
The case against the Venetian producer was initiated off the back of a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office. This led the Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency to scrutinise the firm’s import declarations.
The firm was then reported to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in Venice for aggravated smuggling. It was found to have evaded anti-dumping and customs duties of over €2m. The investigation continues.
After previously indicating that it would do away with trade defence measures in the wake of Brexit, the UK Government subsequently reversed its position in January of last year.
The Department for International Trade said it would retain anti-dumping tariffs for bikes and e-bikes for the time being, but has said it will at some point review them to, “assess whether the measure is necessary or sufficient to prevent or remove injury to UK industry and whether there would be injury to UK industry if it were no longer applied.”