New EU tariffs on Chinese EVs spark trade concerns

New EU tariffs on Chinese EVs spark trade concerns
credit: euronews

London (Parliament News) – The EU has imposed tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, dismissing trade-war concerns. China seeks a resolution, while European carmakers warn of potential industry impacts.

The EU’s top trade administrator, Valdis Dombrovskis, has skimmed aside worries of trade-war retaliation from Beijing against European business after the European Commission levied duties on Chinese electric vehicles.

Are Chinese EV Subsidies Unfair to European Producers?

Dombrovskis, a European Commission vice-president, said that talks with China were continued, adding: “We are not seeing the basis for retaliation as what we are conducting is indeed in line with WTO [World Trade Organization] rules.”

Temporary tariffs on Chinese EV imports to the coalition ranging from 17.4% to 37.6% will apply from Friday after the two sides failed to achieve an agreement on what the EU leader called “unfair” subsidies from Beijing. These tariffs – far softer than the 100% tariffs levied by the US – will come on the lid of the EU’s current 10% duty on electric vehicles from China.

Can Volkswagen Compete Amid EU Tariffs on Chinese EVs?

Europe’s largest carmaker, Volkswagen, reiterated its objection on Thursday to the commission’s suggested tariffs on EVs made in China, arguing that they would not support Europe’s car industry in the long term. Volkswagen, which is wrestling with falling market share in China, has previously cautioned of retaliation from Beijing. “The timing of the EU Commission’s decision is detrimental to the current weak demand for [battery electric vehicles] in Germany and Europe,” the company stated on Thursday.

Will China’s Response to EU Tariffs Affect Trade Relations?

Stellantis, proprietor of brands including Citroën, Fiat and Vauxhall, has stated it will not take a defensive stance in the fight for electric car sales and prefers to “fight to stay competitive”.

The tariffs are the outcome of an ongoing EU investigation established last October, which found Chinese producers profited from subsidies at every stage of the exhibition, from the mining of lithium used in batteries to dispatching the vehicles to EU ports, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp.

“Based on the investigation, the commission has concluded that the BEV [battery electric vehicle] value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidisation, which is causing a threat of economic injury to EU BEV producers,” it stated in a statement to accompany a legal decision published on Thursday.

The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, informed Xi Jinping during the Chinese president’s recent stay in Europe that “imbalances” caused by state approval for Chinese industry, leading to artificially inexpensive products, threatened jobs in Europe, which was “a matter of great anxiety”.  

How Significant Are EU Tariffs on Chinese Electric Vehicles?

China, which has stated it is looking for a “mutually acceptable solution” to the dispute, is examining French cognac and pork imports over contributions, increasing the prospect of tit-for-tat measures. “It is plain for all to see who is escalating trade frictions and instigating a ‘trade war’,” the Chinese commerce ministry expressed last month.

China has succeeded a 25% share of the EU market for electric-battery-powered cars, up from 3% in 2020. EU officeholders fear that without action a European industry that operates 2.5 million people and 10.3 million in the broader supply chain could be seriously injured, just as the EU visited its solar panel businesses lose out to subsidised Chinese competitors.

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.