China ready to defend interests as EU tariffs on EVs loom

China’s foreign ministry stated on Wednesday that it would take necessary actions to protect its rights and interests after a newspaper reported that the European Commission plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). The Commission, responsible for trade policy in the European Union, is expected to inform carmakers of the provisional additional duties following an eight-month investigation. Concerns about China’s industrial overcapacity and the influx of cheap products, including EVs, have sparked a new trade dispute with the West, which initially began with import tariffs imposed by the United States in 2018. The EU’s trade policy is becoming more defensive in response to the global impact of China’s production-driven, debt-based model.
During a regular press conference, Lin Jian, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, criticized the anti-subsidy investigation as an example of protectionism. He called on the European Union to uphold its commitment to free trade and oppose protectionist measures, while also urging them to collaborate with China to protect the overall China-EU economic and trade cooperation. Lin Jian emphasized that China will take all necessary measures to protect its legitimate rights and interests. The Financial Times was the first to report the 25% tariff, citing sources familiar with the matter. The China Passenger Car Association stated that a hypothetical 20% tariff on Chinese EVs is understandable considering the significant employment provided by the auto sector in Europe. Reporting by Liz Lee, Joe Cash, and Albee Zhang; edited by Himani Sarkar and Jason Neely.