Uber, Bird loses bid for U.S. tariff relief on Chinese-made bikes, scooters

FILE PHOTO: An Uber Technologies Inc. Jump Bikes pedal assist electric bicycle stands in Paris, France, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office rejected Uber Technologies Inc’s request for relief from 25% tariffs imposed on Chinese-made electric bicycles, according to a May 29 letter.

The “Jump” bikes that operate in more than a dozen U.S. cities were among $16 billion in Chinese products hit by the Trump administration with new tariffs in August.

Uber did not immediately comment but noted that 96% of electric bikes sold in the United States are made in China and said the tariffs have “caused disproportionate harm to the innovation and competitiveness of U.S. digital transportation platforms.”

Separately, USTR rejected California startup Bird Rides Inc’s request for tariff relief from Chinese-made electric scooters after the company said it did not have an alternative to Chinese low-speed scooters.

“American innovation created and is poised to dominate a brand-new industry worth tens of billions of dollars, despite attempts by foreign imitators to copy Bird’s success,” the company wrote USTR.

USTR said Bird “failed to show that the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to you or other U.S. interests.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio