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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Sorry, the trade war is not over

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

By Steve Frothingham

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — While negotiations are continuing and things can change quickly in the Age of Trump, as of Thursday morning the U.S.-China trade war continues and there is no agreement to roll back tariffs on e-bikes, despite some optimistic reports elsewhere in the bicycle media industrial complex.

Last week, China officials said they were close to a "Phase 1" agreement with the U.S. that would include an elimination of tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on products, including bikes and e-bikes. It's not clear whether the China statement was an update, a hope or a demand, but officials reiterated it as recently as Thursday morning.

No agreement has been announced and Trump told reporters last Friday that he will not agree to a complete rollback of tariffs. On Tuesday, Trump said he might increase tariffs substantially if a deal is not reached.

What about the e-bike exclusion?

In September, the U.S. Trade Representative released a list of products that had been granted an exclusion from tariffs. Singlespeed road bikes were granted an exclusion, as were electric motorcycles.

It wasn't clear whether e-bikes were included with the e-moto exclusion, and the unclarity continues.

"In light of the previous denial of requests for exclusion of e-bikes and the language of the exclusion itself, we are doubtful that this exclusion was intended by the U.S. Trade Representative to apply to e-bikes," PeopleForBikes said at the time, and that position is unchanged.

The organization is hoping to get clarity either from the USTR or via a ruling by the Customs and Border Patrol, said Larry Pizzi, who leads the organization's e-bike committee.

"PeopleForBikes, as our industry association, is pursuing clarity with CBP and the USTR, so all we can say for now is, 'stand by,'" Pizzi told BRAIN on Thursday.

It's possible that some importers have brought in e-bikes without paying the tariff, but if the CBP or USTR eventually rules that e-bikes did not get the exclusion, the importers will then have to pay it back, plus possible interest and penalities.

What about the discounts?

Some e-bike brands, including Rad Power and Juiced, have announced Black Friday discounts, which some interpret as evidence the brands have received tariff relief, although the brands' promotions do not mention tariffs.

The discounts, in fact, are just what they appear to be: Black Friday promotions. A Rad Power representative told BRAIN the company has not received clarity about the exclusion and is waiting for news from the Trump administration like the rest of us.

You can read the entire story here.

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