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Vive la France

The annual Tour de France is over, but there’s some good news for that country’s cycle fans and job seekers. A small French town is celebrating the return to France of a famous French bicycle brand.

Helped by anti-dumping duties on China and countries through which it was routing bicycle exports, the manufacture of Mercier cycles has returned to Europe from South East Asia. Although many parts will initially continue to be imported, the bikes will now be produced in the town of Revin in the Ardennes region, where unemployment is high.

The move will create 270 local jobs, and there were hundreds of applications as soon as the move was announced. Because of a surge in demand in Europe for both regular and electric bikes, the company aims to produce half a million bicycles annually, for France and European Union countries.

After decades of industrial relocation to countries with lower production costs, the French are delighted at the return of a major French cycle brand and hundreds of jobs.

This is another great example of how fair trade measures can support small business and encourage entrepreneurship.

Perhaps South Africa should take a leaf out of the EU’s playbook and entice some industries to bring their production home too?

Image: Jean-Pierre Genet riding a Mercier bicycle during the 1976 Tour de France. Image: René Milanese, CC BY-SA 3.0

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