Xi congrats EC head as China braces for EV tariffs

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the newly-elected European Council President Antonio Costa just hours before the European Commission’s imposition of provisional import tariffs as high as 37.6 per cent on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs).

The tariffs are a response to allegations that China’s state subsidies unfairly benefit its firms, complicating relations between the EU and China, whose economy is valued at $18.6 trillion.

Xi emphasised the importance of China-EU relations amid fears of retaliatory measures from Beijing, potentially escalating global trade tensions. EU trade policy has become more protective due to concerns over China’s export practices and its impact on European markets.

Negotiations between China and the European Commission have been ongoing, with Beijing and some European automakers advocating for the tariffs’ removal.

China denies accusations of subsidising its EVs unfairly, reaffirming its commitment to its comprehensive strategic partnership with the EU.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Costa, now tasked with aligning the interests of the EU’s 27 member states, faces challenges as they weigh whether to support the Commission’s stance on EV tariffs in an upcoming advisory vote.

Germany, heavily reliant on China for car sales, seeks to halt the tariffs, contrasting with France’s strong support.

Meanwhile, China has initiated anti-dumping investigations into EU exports: one targeting brandy exports, predominantly from France, and another focusing on pork imports to pressure Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark. These moves are seen as efforts to influence EU unity on the tariff issue.

Attribution: Reuters.

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