The European Commission is to investigate whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect European Union vehicle producers against cheaper Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports.
It says the Chinese brands are benefiting from state subsidies, which is
“Global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in her annual address to the European Parliament.
The Commission will have up to 13 months during its anti-subsidy investigation to assess whether to impose tariffs above the standard 10% EU rate for cars.
While the UK is obviously outside the EU, some industry experts here fear similarly challenges for long-established car brands when China’s new EV imports increase significantly in volume.
Professor Jim Saker recently wrote for AM accusing the UK government of trying to destroy our domestic automotive industry by failing to act.
Reuters reports that Von der Leyen stressed the importance of electric vehicles to the EU’s ambitious environmental objectives.
“Europe is open to competition. Not for a race to the bottom,” she told the European Parliament.
Von der Leyen said the EU did not want to repeat the experience of its solar panel industry, which was decimated by cheaper Chinese imports around a decade ago.