Currently all bicycle imports into Canada have a 13 percent import duty and some also have a 5-50 percent dumping duty applied. An additional 30 percent surtax against bikes from the Far East, as recommended to the Canadian government by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), would have made Canada "the most taxed bicycle industry on the planet," said Guy Bombardier of Cybersport of Vancouver BC, manufacturer of Brodie Bikes.
The CITT recommended that Canada impose a three-year surtax on bicycles with a freight-on-board (FOB) value of $225 Canadian or less. The 30 percent tax would drop to 25 percent in the second year, 20 percent the third and would then be dropped.
The Canadian Bicycle Manufacturers' Association complained to the CITT in 2004, asking it to impose a 48 percent tariff on foreign bike imports in order to stem the flow of lower-cost foreign imports into Canada. According to reports from Procycle Inc. and Raleigh Canada Ltd, imports have almost doubled in recent years to 1,063,768 units in 2004 from 538,523 in 2000.
Surtax critics said Procycle and Raleigh avoid existing tariffs, duties and surcharges by importing most of their bicycle frames and components unassembled into Canada where they then assemble them for distribution.
Last year, Peter Lilly of CyclePath, an independent bicycle dealer of Toronto, Ontario, said:
"Gasoline prices are up, inner city smog and traffic congestion are up, greenhouses gases are up, childhood obesity is up and virtually everyone has identified bicycles as part of the solution. So where is the public interest in a 30 percent import bicycle surtax?
Mike Theil, owner of four Bicycle Sports Pacific stores in Vancouver, said: "It's outrageous that Canadian cyclists, my business, my staff's jobs, the health of our nation and the environment are all up for sacrifice, to bail out two globally uncompetitive businesses that have failed to adapt despite fifteen years of trade protection. They continue to try to compete for the bottom end of the bicycle market in Canada.
"These two companies need to focus on making better bikes, not continually coming back to government for more trade protection. There are many successful Canadian bike manufacturers and they do not need or support this proposed tax."
And on Monday Canada's Conservative government sided with the retailers and smaller bicycle distributors rejecting additional surtaxes on bicycles (and barbecue imports). The government said: "temporary protective tariffs simply wouldn't provide a competitive long-term solution."
Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada said:
"On behalf of all retailers across Canada who sell bicycles and barbecues this is a huge victory for their customers and their businesses. Increasing import surtaxes only drives up costs and drives down product selection for Canadian consumers.
"We want to grow and strengthen our economy, and imposing these surtaxes would have increased costs for both Canadian retailers and consumers.
"For the hundreds of our smaller store owners in these product categories, this is particularly good news.
"It will protect their rights to responsibly source the range of products their consumers are demanding - at the price levels their customers are willing or able to pay."
STATEMENT FROM BTAC:
Canadian cycling industry lauds Government of Canadas rejection of a 30% surtax on imported bicycles
May 30, 2006- Toronto, Ontario The Bicycle Trade Association of Canada (BTAC) is voicing its
support and appreciation for the Government of Canadas decision to reject the Canadian International
Trade Tribunals (CITT) recommendation for 30% surtax on imported bicycles. This is absolutely the
right call for the Canadian cyclist, states Paul Nielsen, President of BTAC adding, It is gratifying to
us that the most senior public policy makers in Canada recognize that lower taxes are the key to
promoting cycling and fostering economic development in the Canadian bicycle sector.
Had the CITT recommendation for a 30% bicycle surtax been implemented the effect would have been
to increase the cost of import bicycles at price-points between CDN $400-$700 a market segment
comprised of commuter bicycles and high quality entry level bicycles used by youths. The proposed
30% surtax would have been applied in addition to two existing protections - a 13% customs tariff that
is applied to every bicycle imported into Canada irrespective of origin and special antidumping duties
ranging from 5-50% that have been imposed on bicycles from Taiwan and China for well over a
This is great news for me and my employees and a fantastic way to launch Bicycling Week in
Toronto, states Pete Lilly of Sweet Petes CyclePath in Toronto, Ontario adding, Yesterday Toronto
experienced a wildcat transit strike which caused its roads to congest as temperatures rose to over 30C.
It really made a point about the need to reduce inner city traffic congestion, smog and greenhouses
gases on an ongoing basis. Imagine the benefits of complementing public transit by finding a way to
replace just two out of every ten cars with bicycles during the summer months. Keeping bicycles
affordable is certainly a very good start.
The decision to reject the CITT recommendation for a 30% surtax on imported bicycles is a second
bicycle friendly announcement by the Government of Canada and follows a federal budget
commitment to earmark $900M is surpluses for the Public Transit Capital Trust which includes monies
to support bicycle transportation.