Carmakers unhappy after EU hits China with tariffs on electric vehicles

The European Union has slapped extra provisional duties of up to 38 percent on Chinese electric car imports because of "unfair" state subsidies, despite Beijing's warnings the move would unleash a trade war. But company reps in both China and Europe are critical of the steps.

Brussels launched an investigation last year into Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers to probe whether state subsidies were unfairly undercutting European automakers.

Since announcing the planned tariff hike last month, on top of current import duties of 10 percent, the European Commission has begun talks with Beijing to try to resolve the issue, with China threatening retaliation.

"Our investigation... concluded that the battery electric vehicles produced in China benefit from unfair subsidisation, which is causing a threat of economic injury to the EU's own electric car makers," the EU's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said.

The move comes despite talks between Chinese and EU trade officials on 22 June, but Brussels will continue "to engage intensively with China on a mutually acceptable solution", according to Dombrovskis.

Retaliation

Beijing has already signalled its readiness to retaliate by launching an anti-dumping probe last month into pork imports, threatening Spanish exports. Chinese media suggest Beijing will trigger further probes.

Chinese officials have also railed against probes targeting state subsidies in the green tech sector, including wind turbines and solar panels.

And BMW chief Oliver Zipse said the tariff battle between the EU and China "leads to a dead end".

(with newswires)


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