People for BikesPeople for Bikes

May 21, 2024

Advocating for a Pro-Bike Federal Trade Agenda

By: Noa Banayan, federal affairs advisor

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PeopleForBikes’ domestic trade policy for bicycles, electric bicycles, and bicycle products includes seven principles to create economic, environmental, and health benefits for all Americans.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, recent trade actions by the federal government leave little good trade news for the bicycle industry. On Friday, May 24, 2024, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the fate of the Section 301 tariff exclusions scheduled to expire on May 31. All exclusions are briefly extended to midnight of June 14, 2024, as a “transition period.”

Exclusions for bicycle trailers and some bicycle helmets are extended to June 1, 2025. These exclusions are listed under Annex C in the USTR announcement. These exclusions are listed under Annex D of the announcement and include all HTS codes for children’s bicycles, electric bicycles, certain carbon fiber frames, and water packs. After June 14, these products will be subject to a 25% Section 301 tariff in addition to any base tariffs.

As the U.S. bicycle industry’s trade association, PeopleForBikes is dedicated to promoting pro-bike trade policies that support bike businesses, keep Americans riding, and make bikes and bicycle products more accessible for everyone. We’re optimistic that the recent movement on trade policy in Congress (outlined below) will lead to a safer, stronger, and more robust future for the bike industry and bike riders nationwide thanks to the advocacy of our Coalition members and the leadership of champions on Capitol Hill. 

We’re optimistic that recent movement on trade policy in Congress (outlined below) will lead to a safer, stronger, and more robust future for the bike industry and bike riders nationwide thanks to the advocacy of our Coalition members and the leadership of champions on Capitol Hill.

Every major action on tariffs affects the bicycle industry. PeopleForBikes actively pushes for tariff exclusions, beneficial trade program renewals, and other policy reforms that create a more predictable and supportive culture of trade policy in Washington, D.C. We are proud to share our vision for U.S. trade policy with our members, policymakers, and partners in our new 2024 Trade Policy Agenda.

Read PeopleForBikes’ 2024 Trade Agenda 

Our 2024 Trade Agenda is available exclusively to PeopleForBikes Coalition Members.

Domestic trade policy for bicycles, electric bicycles, and bicycle products should support seven key principles to provide economic, environmental, and health benefits for Americans. These policies should:

Create Certainty: Fluctuations in U.S. trade policy limit investments in the future of the bike industry and harm consumers. Trade policies should foster stability so U.S. bike companies can plan their supply chains, align production with demand, invest in business expansion, hire new employees, and increase wages.

Provide a Fair Playing Field: Sudden tariff increases of 25-100% dramatically depress the economic success of the bike industry. Duties function no differently than changes to other cost inputs or taxes. When they increase, the companies paying those duties are less profitable. These cost increases unfairly select winners and losers and threaten the free market. 

Promote Domestic Economic Growth: Participation trends for the U.S. bicycle industry are strong and sales of electric bicycles are rising. Sound trade policy can promote that growth and the onshoring of bicycle assembly and production even further. Our economic policies should encourage and enable bike companies to invest more in U.S. bicycle production and support the thousands of small businesses — American bicycle dealers — serving our communities. Trade policies that unfairly favor foreign-based manufacturers and online retailers must end.

Leverage Opportunities to Achieve Climate Change Goals: Bicycling provides one of the most efficient solutions to reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Our trade and tax policies should recognize the potential of the bike to help achieve these goals.

Improve Public Health: Bicycling will not only help achieve environmental objectives, but also make Americans happier and healthier in the process. U.S. trade policy should align with national efforts to improve mental and physical well-being and reduce rising healthcare costs.

Increase Youth Participation: Young bike riders represent the future of the U.S. bike industry. Children’s bicycles and critical safety equipment must remain available and affordable for the long-term stability of the bike industry.

Encourage Investments in Developing Countries: The U.S. is a leader in helping other countries build stronger economic foundations. The bike industry can help America continue this legacy with policies that support investments in developing nations.

PeopleForBikes is advocating for a number of policy proposals that align with our principles and goals for U.S. trade policy, including: 

Reducing duties on bicycle components and raw materials, specifically Section 301 tariffs and Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. 

A wholesale reduction or elimination of the de minimis shipment threshold for bicycles and bicycle accessories, including helmets and other highly regulated safety products.

  • The bipartisan Import Security and Fairness Act (H.R. 4148/S. 2004) from Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Neal Dunn (FL-02) and Senators Sherrod Brown (OH) and Marco Rubio (FL) would eliminate de minimis treatment for goods imported from non-market economies

A bicycle manufacturing and assembly onshoring incentive proposal from Rep. Blumenauer that would:

  • Temporarily remove tariffs on bicycle components imported for assembly 
  • Establish an electric bicycle production tax credit 
  • Provide businesses loans of up to $50 million to support investment in manufacturing for bicycles and electric bicycles

Extending the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and renewing the Generalized System of Preferences.

On April 16, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the Biden Administration’s 2024 Trade Agenda. In the USTR hearing, Congressman Mike Thompson, the incoming chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, asked Ambassador Tai about her agency’s plans regarding de minimis policy and specifically highlighted the threat of unsafe, untested bicycle helmets and electric bicycles entering the U.S. as a reason for reform. She responded that the USTR was looking for action and direction from Congress on this issue. 

On April 19, the committee held a markup to advance six pieces of legislation related to trade with China. The committee advanced legislation related to de minimis and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). PeopleForBikes supports this effort to renew GSP and reform de minimis policy, which could save the bicycle industry millions in retroactive duties if signed into law. 

The GSP bill would reinstate duty relief retroactively to December 31, 2020, and importers would be able to apply for the refund of all duties paid that otherwise would have been reduced or eliminated under GSP had it remained in place. The bill also imposes additional factors for countries to remain eligible for the GSP program and increases the rules of origin requirement for local inputs from 35% to 50% by 2031.

The de minimis bill is somewhat limited and would remove de minimis treatment only:

  • Where "merchandise covered by a single order or contract is forwarded in separate lots to secure the benefit of such subsection”
  • "With respect to any article that is subject to duties or other import restrictions" under Section 301 tariffs or other trade actions (potentially including the pending aluminum extrusion trade action)

PeopleForBikes will continue to support sound trade policy that advances the goals and needs of the bicycle industry. We’ll weigh in on these policies as they move through the legislative process and ensure our members stay updated and aware of any changes in policy that could affect their businesses. 

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