All India Bicycling Pedallers’ Forum, a body of cycling enthusiasts in the country, has urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to bring bicycles under the green product category as per the World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms and reduce or eliminate import tariffs and barriers because bikes have a positive effect on the environment.
“WTO has agreed to reduce tariffs to 5 per cent or less by 2015 on 54 categories of green products. These categories include solar panels, gas and wind turbines, soot removers and catalytic converters. The WTO will soon have another round of negotiations with its members over adding product categories to the Environmental Goods Agreement. The bicycle should be discussed in that agenda,” said Mahendra Awasthi, convenor of the All India Bicycling Pedallers’ Forum.
“The benefits of bicycling are significant, in terms of energy savings, relief of urban congestion and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle,” said Awasthi. “Imposing import duty as high as 30 per cent is a completely senseless move by the government.”
“It’s a shame that bicycles which are used for pollution-free transport, and as a means of good outdoor exercise should face such severe hikes in duties. Use of bicycles burns no fuel except human energy, is environment-friendly and healthy,” said V K Arora, a Delhi-based bicycling enthusiast.