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Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Bicycles as environmental goods

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  • Rory McMullan
    I support reducing the cost of bicycles to the general public, and believe if quality commuter bicycles and accessories can be purchased at lower cost then the
    Message 1 of 2 , May 2, 2006
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      I support reducing the cost of bicycles to the general public, and believe if quality commuter bicycles and accessories can be purchased at lower cost then the numbers purchased will grow, as the financial barrier to cycling is reduced.

      This is particularily potent as theft is a major problem, and it is estimated that cyclists who suffer loss of bikes through theft more than twice cease cycling.

      If the price of bicycles for commuting is reduced, resell value will be limited, and theft rates lowered.

      However the industry is mainly against it in the EU.

      At the moment bicycles imported to the UK attract a 15% standard import duty and an extra 45% anti dumping duty for those made in China and aout 30% dumping duty for Vietnam.

      This is an effort to protect domestic EU bicycle manufacturers, which are now very few in Western Europe, although several bicycle assembly plants have been established in Poland and Romania.

      Production has shifted to Bangladsh, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and The Phillipines to avoid EU imposed Anti Dummping Duty (ADD).

      Many bicycle companies in the UK also believe that the bicycle market is fixed at about 2m a year and any reduction in the cost of a bike simply reduces the amount of money in the industry, and so is generally supportive of trade barriers.

      As regards sustainability a trade barrier protecting domestic production can perhaps be viewed as a positive thing, reducing transport to the market, however as most large EU producers are assembly plants they still require import of the parts.

      One suggestion that might gain more universal support might be removal of trade barriers on commuter bikes and accessories only, with mudguards, sensible smooth rolling tires, reflectives etc.

      Sports bikes: Mountain bikes and drop handlebar road bikes should remain a tariffed item.

      Regards,
      Rory


      "Carlos F. Pardo SUTP" <carlos.pardo@...> wrote:
      Nice info, maybe we could find a way to support? Letters signed by many parties, etc.

      Source: http://itdp.org/STe/ste21/wto.html


      WTO Negotiations Open Possibility of Defining Bicycles as Environmental Goods


      By Matthew Sholler

      Current efforts to designate bikes as “environmentally preferable products” free of tariffs
      and other trade barriers have gone largely unnoticed by the international bicycling community.

      Organizations promoting bicycle use at the international level may have a new avenue to do so -- through the liberalization of trade in bicycles, bicycle parts and components, and bicycle accessories that could result from the World Trade Organization's (WTO) current negotiations on environmental goods and services.
      The mandate for these negotiations comes from the so-called Doha Development Agenda (DDA), issued by trade ministers at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2002. Paragraph 31(iii) of the DDA calls for the reduction or elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services. WTO ministers did not, however, define what constitutes an "environmental good", so the negotiations have moved forward largely on the basis of lists of suggested goods by WTO member economies.
      One sub-category of products is referred to as "environmentally preferable products", or EPPs, deemed superior to close substitutes because of the way they are produced, used or disposed of.
      At the end of 2004, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked by its member countries to prepare a study of EPPs, concentrating on products whose liberalization would benefit developing countries, either through improved environmental outcomes or increased trade in the product. The bicycle emerged as one of the three EPPs the OECD Secretariat chose to study in depth.
      (A copy of the report may be found here: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/19/35841725.pdf)
      In mid-2005, Switzerland, an OECD member country, submitted its own list of proposed environmental goods to the WTO, which included bicycles, bicycle parts and components, and certain accessories. The Swiss proposal has been met with mixed reactions by other member countries, many of which are represented in WTO negotiations by representatives from trade ministries who do not grasp the bicycle's environmental relevance. Others, usually from environment ministries, have generally been more supportive of the idea.
      As of this writing, no definitive common list of environmentally goods has been agreed by WTO negotiators. There may still be an opportunity for bicycle advocates to tell their countries' WTO delegates just how important it is to grant "environmental good" status to bicycles, parts and accessories.




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    • Todd Edelman
      ... OK, but, well, to make a citizen s arrest here, I don t think is this list is the right place for a discussion just about bikes. I want to hear if
      Message 2 of 2 , May 2, 2006
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        Rory wrote:
        > I support reducing the cost of bicycles to the general public, and believe
        > if quality commuter bicycles and accessories can be purchased at lower
        > cost then the numbers purchased will grow, as the financial barrier to
        > cycling is reduced.

        OK, but, well, to make a "citizen's arrest" here, I don't think is this
        list is the right place for a discussion just about bikes. I want to hear
        if changes in duties and tariffs improves (or doesnt) the chances for
        carfree cities in general, and the other repurcussions of the changes in
        duties, etc and as some have said these could counteract any climate
        benefits of carfree cities due to increased transport.

        - T
        ------------------------------------------------------

        Todd Edelman
        International Coordinator
        On the Train Towards the Future!

        Green Idea Factory
        Laubova 5
        CZ-13000 Praha 3

        ++420 605 915 970

        edelman@...
        http://www.worldcarfree.net/onthetrain

        Green Idea Factory,
        a member of World Carfree Network
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