Several Vietnamese companies engaged in the production and export of electric bicycles are currently under preliminary investigation for potential formal investigation regarding the evasion of the European Union’s (EU) trade remedy measures, similar to the measures applied to electric bicycles from China.
Since July 19, 2018, Giant Electric Vehicle (Kunshan), a Chinese company, has been subjected to EU anti-dumping duties for bicycles with pedal assistance and additional electric motors falling under HS codes 8711 60 10 and ex 8711 60 90 (TARIC code 8711 60 90 10).
In the first eight months of 2023, the total import value of electric bicycles subject to EU trade remedy measures from China significantly decreased by approximately 36% compared to the same period in 2022. However, products under HS code 8171.60 imported from Vietnam into the EU have seen a continuous increase from 2019 to 2022 and continued to rise significantly in the first eight months of 2023.
The European Bicycle Manufacturers Association has expressed concerns about a company that is subject to Chinese duties potentially falsifying the origin of its products to evade the EU’s trade remedy measures applied to Chinese products. Specifically, the association is worried that this company may have exported its products to Vietnam and subsequently re-exported them to the EU market without substantial changes to evade the EU’s trade remedy duties.
Vietnam’s Trade Remedies Authority (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade) has identified this situation and has included electric bicycles on the warning list. The authority is intensifying investigations, clarifying allegations, addressing concerns raised by EU partners, and vigorously monitoring and preventing any circumvention of trade remedy measures (if any) for electric bicycles.
According to a report from the Vietnam Trade Office in Belgium, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), a unit of the European Commission, is investigating three investment companies in Vietnam with allegations of circumventing anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the EU on Chinese products.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recommends that companies manufacturing electric bicycles for export to the EU closely monitor the situation and take timely measures in case the EU decides to initiate an investigation. Particularly, businesses should engage with a specialized law firm in trade remedies to receive support in the preparation process, document screening, and proof of origin verification, and avoid involvement in fraudulent activities.