China hopes for solution with EU on EV tariffs ‘as soon as possible’

Employees work on the assembly line of electric vehicles in a digital automotive factory of Jiangling Motors on May 17, 2024. 

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BEIJING — China hopes to reach an agreement with the European Union soon on the bloc’s planned tariffs for imported Chinese electric cars, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

The European Commission announced in mid-June that if discussions with China did not go well, the bloc would start to impose additional duties on imported Chinese EVs on Thursday, July 4. “Definitive measures” would take effect four months after that date, according to a press release.

“We hope that the European side will work with China to meet each other halfway, show sincerity, speed up the consultation process, and, on the basis of rules and reality, reach a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson He Yadong told reporters in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation.

He reiterated China’s opposition to the European Union’s anti-subsidy probe and pointed out the two sides still have a four-month window.

China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and European Commission Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis met virtually on June 22 to discuss the EU probe, according to the commerce ministry.

Spokesperson He said Thursday that the two sides had held multiple rounds of talks at a technical level, but he did not specify whether the talks were ongoing or had ended.

The EU started an investigation last year into the role of subsidies in China’s electric vehicle production. The new energy vehicle industry, which includes hybrid and battery-only cars, has grown rapidly in China and automakers such as BYD have started to export the vehicles to Europe and other regions.

The Chinese government spent $230.8 billion over more than a decade to develop its electric car industry, according to an analysis by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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