There's a row brewing over the new JUMP e-bikes, the bicycles that are available for rent through the internet around the Belgian city in Brussels. About 500 of these e-bikes are already available around Brussels making it easier to navigate the city's at times busy traffic congestion.
However, the European bicycle manufacturing industry is worried. It says that these bicycles, which are mass produced in China without always having suitable specifications, could have a serious impact on the EU market.
"At this moment, we are struggling and fighting against illegal subsidised imports due to the massive overcapacity of bicycles developed in China, which amount to almost five times more than the EU demand. This has been developed due to the massive and illegal subsidies that the Chinese government has been granting to the Chinese bicycle producers and at this moment we believe that the European bicycle industry is very important and we want to survive," said lawyer Evangelia Anevlavi.
Last January, the European Commission imposed a series of specifications on the import of the specific bicycles. And it seems that they have managed to save some of the family businesses around Brussels that make bicycles.
"The quality standard is quite higher in Europe. For example, if you have a test or a problem with the bike and you want to take the Chinese guys to court, they will not come. A European manufacturer is responsible for what he did. So I think it's a good thing that we protect our market, we protect our social security and we protect our workers against unfair competition," said Johan Huygens, managing director of Scott Sportech Benelux.
And it's not the first time that imported Chinese products have adversely impacted other markets.
"Without these measures, the industry would not have survived. The industry would have been wiped out like it was in the US and Japan, which didn't do anything to confront the unfair trade coming from China."
The European Commission is keeping a close eye on this new market and on how it develops. It is working on applying new measures that will protect citizens and the European bicycle industry.