Chinese NEV makers, industry bodies urged to actively deal with trade restrictions by foreign governments
Published: Feb 07, 2024 11:33 AM
Staff members from a local NEV enterprise catch up on orders on the production line in Ganzhou, East China's Jiangxi Province on December 26, 2023.Photo: VCG

Staff members from a local NEV enterprise catch up on orders on the production line in Ganzhou, East China's Jiangxi Province on December 26, 2023.Photo: VCG

Nine Chinese departments including the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that they would actively help enterprises in the new-energy vehicle (NEV) sector respond to foreign trade restrictions, while guiding industry associations and companies to collaborate with international counterparts, according to a jointly released opinion. 

The guidelines also encourage Chinese departments to fully utilize corresponding international platforms and mechanisms, with each department taking a different role, to create a fair, transparent and predictable international trade environment for domestic NEVs, power batteries and other products. This measure aims to maintain the stable and smooth operation of the global supply chain of related industries, while calling on governments to increase communication.

Observers said that the guidelines demonstrate China's strengthened efforts in promoting high-quality opening-up and contributing to global green development, which is in sharp contrast to the protectionist practices targeting Chinese NEVs launched by some Western countries, which will only harm global supply and industry chains. 

Besides enhancing risk prevention, the 18 guidelines cover six aspects, from elevating international management and optimizing trade to stepping up financial support, read the opinion. 

Five measures including encouraging cooperation with overseas institutions and companies were specifically proposed to elevate international cooperation, while two measures will be implemented to optimize the operations of global logistics systems.

There will be targeted measures to optimize trade promotion activities and create a favorable trade environment. The document said that financial support will be ramped up by facilitating cross-border yuan settlements and other measures. 

NEVs made in China have major cost advantages with relatively higher performances compared with cars made by some foreign producers that face insufficient production capacity, Zhang Xiang, director of the Digital Automotive International Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In January, Chinese companies manufactured 2.41 million vehicles with an annual growth rate of 51.2 percent. There was an increase of 47.9 percent in sales to 2.44 million units, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.  

Chinese automakers have strong international competitiveness thanks to a complete supply chain, and the stable supply chain will benefit international consumers with affordable prices, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

In October 2023, the European Commission launched an anti-subsidy probe into China's NEV sector, which claimed to protect EU producers against cheaper Chinese imports. The Biden administration is also reportedly discussing raising tariffs on some Chinese goods, including NEVs, in an attempt to bolster the US clean-energy industry against cheaper Chinese exports, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. 

Multiple Chinese departments and officials have urged the EU to provide a fair and non-discriminatory business environment for trade cooperation. In an interview with Bloomberg in January, Fu Cong, Chinese ambassador to the EU, called the bloc's subsidy probe "unfair," according to the report. 

As the world's major retail market and NEV maker, exports of NEVs manufactured in China have been growing amid the global low-carbon transition, which significantly contributes to promoting the global green sector's development, a MOFCOM spokesperson said on Wednesday in a separate statement.

"Trade protectionism will only increase costs on the global supply chain," Li said, adding that China has been committed to opening-up despite rising global trade protectionism, which will offer more opportunities for the rest of the world, especially for developing countries.