EU measures seriously hurting Vietnamese bicycle makers

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Vietnamese bicycle makers are calling for the European Commission to lift its anti-dumping duties on the industry, saying they are being seriously hurt by the punitive measures.

The commission has imposed anti-dumping duties ranging from 15.8 to 34.5 percent on bicycle products from Vietnam since 2005 after determining they were being sold at unfair prices in the 27 member bloc countries.

Local exporters said their volumes to the bloc have dramatically dropped from one million to 21,421 units and production has fallen 90 percent over the last five years.

The industry employed 210,000 workers to produce 200,000 units in 2005, but had just 5,000 workers meeting 10 percent of their production capacity early this year, they said in a statement.

They said their situation would go from bad to worse, if the commission extended the duties which are set to expire on July 15.

The commission will conduct five year reviews to determine whether revocation of the measures is likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.

The reviews have been demanded by the European Bicycle Manufacturers' Association in April. The association represents 35 percent of the bike industry in the grouping.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said the commission should drop the unfair measures as the products from Vietnam have not harmed European bike manufacturers, because Vietnamese exports account for a miniscule portion of the market.

The ministry said Vietnam exported 21,421 units in 2009. The 37,453 units that it exported in 2008 accounted for just 0.40 percent of total bike imports or 0.1 percent of sales volume in the bloc, it said.

Meanwhile, the European bike industry was still growing steadily as evidenced by figures released by various sources, the ministry said, citing the German bike industry as an example. The industry posted a 10 percent increase in profits last year.

The ministry said the way the European manufacturers should deal with the issue was to compete with prices rather than filing lawsuits against exports.

The punitive measures would not match or support development of trade and investment between Vietnam and the group, the ministry said.

Bike imports from China are also subjected to 48.5 percent antidumping duties in the EU.

Vietnamese footwear exporters have suffered an anti-dumping duty of 10 percent in the European market.

Nguyen Canh Cuong, deputy head of the ministry's European Market Department told Thanh Nien Weekly on the sidelines of a seminar held by a European delegation in Vietnam last month that EU protectionism through these measures have hindered the development of Vietnam's exports sector.

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