"What a waste. We could have been spending time talking up the market, instead people like me all across Europe have spent months fighting an action that should never have been taken in the first place," the BA president Eddie Eccleston, told BikeBiz.
"A lot of people are sympathetic to the dumping complaint against China alone but lumping in Taiwan was always going to be a non-starter. BikeBiz is spot on when it says Brian Montgomery made a tactical error."
Jack Oortwijn, editor in chief of BikeEurope, is also perplexed by the way Brian Montgomery has played this one. Just like us, he's staggered by the spin put on EBMA's
withdrawal of the dumping complaint. On the BikeEurope website he complains that:
"You almost have to read between the lines to gather from the European Bicycle Manufacturers Associations (EBMA) 21 January press release that the dumping complaint on frames and forks from Taiwan and China has been withdrawn. In this statement EBMA chairman Brian Montgomery continually links the dumping complaint on frames and forks from Taiwan and China to the dumping affair on the imports of complete bikes from China. As published in Bike Europe's December 1999 issue the European Commission is annoyed by this linkage and views it as 'playing politics' by the European bicycle industry. The European Commission treats the two dumping issues as completely separate cases. Nevertheless, the EBMA press release states that: "Dissatisfied with the effectiveness of the 1997 EU Regulation on the circumvention of Chinese bicycle anti-dumping measures the EBMA laid a complaint with the European Commission on the import on bicycle frames, forks and wheels to try to improve the situation in regard to extensive circumvention and unfair competition. Further and deeper reflection has brought the EBMA members to what they see as a more effective solution. The EBMA will therefore very firmly apply pressure to make sure that the circumvention rules are tightened and better observed and will approach the Commission to withdraw the complaint on frames, forks and wheels from China and Taiwan." The EBMA statement is even more strange when taking into account that on 12 January the European Commission sent out the formal notices that the measures against the imports of complete bikes from China would be continued. Moreover, already weeks ago it became clear for insiders like EBMA chairman Montgomery that these dumping measures would be continued."
Oortwijn also complains about the costs the EBMA case has cost the industry:
"...Insiders estimate that the cost for the lawyers alone amount to about US$400,000. When taking into consideration the manpower involved in filling out the very detailed questionnaires from the European Commission, then the amount spent can be doubled or even tripled."
From conversations with European trade organisations, European journalists and European Commission insiders, it is hard to find much support for Brian Montgomery's reading of events. Even his supporters are complaining he has mishandled this dumping complaint and it could be a case of 'little boy who cried wolf', making future anti-dumping actions harder to make stick.
Some trade commentators have been button-holing this trade mag and others, claiming that it's only through protectionism and a 'level playing field' that European cycle manufacturers will survive.
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