China and EU held technical talks on impending EV tariffs

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Europe held several rounds of technical talks over tariffs on Chinese electric cars that the European Commission is set to confirm on Thursday, China’s commerce ministry said at a regular news conference.

“To date, a number of consultations have been held at the technical level between China and the European Union,” He Yadong, a ministry spokesperson, said.

“There is still a four-month window before arbitration, and we hope that the European and Chinese sides will move in the same direction, show sincerity, and push forward with the consultation process as soon as possible,” he added.

The Commission is set to confirm provisional import tariffs of up to 37.6% on Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles (EVs), after the bloc accused the world’s No.2 economy of providing its firms with heavy state subsidies.

EU trade policy has turned increasingly protective over concerns that China’s production-focused development model could flood Europe with cheap goods as Chinese firms seek to step up exports amid weak domestic demand.

Beijing rejects accusations that Chinese EVs are unfairly subsidised.

“The governments of some EU member states and some major automobile companies have repeatedly, explicitly opposed the EU’s anti-subsidy measures,” He Yadong said.

“China hopes the EU will heed the call from within the EU, conduct consultations with China in a rational and pragmatic manner, and avoid countervailing measures hurting the mutually beneficial cooperation and common development of the China-EU auto industry,” he added.

EU countries are wavering over whether to back additional tariffs on Chinese-built EVs, highlighting Brussels’ challenge in building support for its largest trade case yet as Beijing threatens wide-ranging retaliation.

The issue will be put to the 27-strong bloc in an advisory vote in the coming weeks.

Germany, whose carmakers made a third of their sales last year in China, reportedly wants to stop the tariffs, while France has been among the firmest backers.

China is undertaking an anti-dumping inquiry into European brandy imports. Almost all EU brandy exports to China came from France last year, Chinese customs data shows.

Beijing has also opened an anti-dumping investigation into imports of European pork and its by-products, which analysts say is aimed at pressuring Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark to break with the Commission over the curbs.

(Reporting by Joe Cash and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Barbara Lewis)


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