EU to let bicycle duties lapse

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 The European Commission will allow the existing "anti-dumping" duties on Vietnamese bicycle imports to sunset. The duties, which expire on July 15, have dealt a serious blow to Vietnamese bike makers and exporters.

In a recent announcement to the Vietnamese Mission to the European Union, the commission said it had not received any requests to launch further investigations into predatory pricing.

The duties, ranging from 15.8 to 34.5 percent, have been in place since 2005 following a ruling that found that Vietnamese imports were being sold at unfair prices. Vietnamese exporters denied the allegations.

"We appreciate the decision which proves that Vietnamese producers have done no harm to the bike industry in the bloc," said an official from Vietnam Competition Authority.

The official, who asked for anonymity, said that the EC was letting the duties expire because they had finally realized that Vietnamese bike producers had not "dumped" their prices.

She said that the duties had hurt export volumes over the past five years. According to the authority, exports to the bloc have dropped from one million to 21,400 units. Production has fallen 90 percent in the same period.

The domestic bike industry, which employed 210,000 workers in 2005, had just 5,000 workers meeting 10 percent of their production capacity early this year, they said in a statement.

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 European Market.

Last December, the European Commission extended a five-year anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese footwear exporters that had expired in July. The duty adds 10 percent to the cost of shoes sold in the European market.

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