Chinese car industry body slams EU's EV tariffs, as experts urge sincerity in consultations
Brussels needs to show sincerity in consultations to resolve dispute: experts
Published: Jul 07, 2024 07:46 PM
EV Photo:VCG

EV Photo:VCG

China's major auto industry association has slammed the EU's disregard of facts during its so-called investigation into Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) and its subsequent decision to slap additional tariffs on Chinese EVs, warning the EU against politicization of trade issues that would undermine cooperation and the development of the global auto industry. 

The latest statement of opposition made by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) to the EU move comes as the two sides start consultations over the dispute. Chinese experts on Sunday urged the EU side to show sincerity in the talks so as to resolve the dispute in a timely manner and avoid further escalation. 

In a post on its WeChat account on Saturday, CAAM said that the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, disregarded facts and asserted that there were "high subsidies" for the Chinese EVs, and decided to impose provisional tariffs on them. "The CAAM deeply regrets and firmly opposes this," said the post.

The CAAM further said that since the EC launched the investigation in October 2023, the Chinese automobile industry has actively cooperated with it in order to maintain the security and stability of the China-EU automobile industry chain, and the companies in question have diligently provided information requested by relevant departments. 

"However, during the investigation, the EC preset the investigation results, tended to select sample companies, abused its investigative power, arbitrarily expanded the scope of the investigation, and seriously distorted the investigation results," CAAM said. 

CAAM urged the EC to refrain from treating a necessary development phase in the current automobile industry as a long-term threat, and avoid politicizing economic and trade issues and abusing trade remedy measures. The EC should "avoid damaging and distorting the global automobile industry, including the EU supply chain, and maintain a fair, nondiscriminatory and predictable market environment," the association said. 

Experts said that CAAM's latest post further underscored the harsh response and serious concerns of the Chinese auto industry over the EC's protectionist move, which could undermine cooperation not just in the auto industry but also in overall China-EU economic and trade.

China and the EU have launched consultations to resolve the dispute. 

Experts said that while consultations are necessary for both sides to resolve the dispute before it escalates further, it is critical that the EC, which started the protectionist moves, should show sincerity in the talks. 

"We can't have talks just for the sake of talks. There must be a change in attitude, and the EU side needs to make a major adjustment in this regard," Cui Hongjian, a professor with the Academy of Regional and Global Governance with Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Cui said that the EC has focused largely on the so-called political and security concerns during the investigation and its subsequent ruling, instead of the facts and economic and trade rules. "Therefore, if the EU does not make adjustments and changes from its current position, the talks will not be able to succeed," Cui said.

If the EC moves forward to make its provisional tariffs on Chinese EVs permanent, it would seriously hurt the EU's own green development, some European scholars said. 

"The planned EU tariffs on Chinese EVs is a typical example of Western hypocrisy. Should we not be thankful for the possibility of buying cheap EVs from China to faster lower our greenhouse gas emissions? By the way, our public funds are financially supporting our factories for EV-battery production," Lars Bern, a Swedish expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.