China protests over EU move to hike tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Commerce Ministry on Thursday accused the European Union of making unreasonable demands in its investigation into imports of Chinese electric vehicles before announcing it was raising tariffs by as much as 38%.

Ministry spokesman He Yadong said the European side had demanded excessive amounts of information from Chinese automakers and then unfairly accused the Chinese companies of failing to cooperate.

“The types, scope, and amount of information collected by the European side are unprecedented, far exceeding the requirements of anti-subsidy investigations,” He said. He said that included requiring details on manufacturing and development, technology and product formulas, among other aspects, from Chinese electric vehicle and battery companies.

“After Chinese companies did their best to cooperate with the investigation and provided information, the European Commission still unreasonably accused Chinese companies of not fully cooperating and imposed punitive high tax rates,” He said, describing the Chinese companies as “shocked and disappointed.”

The Chinese spokesman did not announce any new measures in retaliation for the provisional increase in tariffs, which he said lack a “factual and legal basis.” But he reiterated Beijing’s warning that it will defend the rights and interests of Chinese companies. On Monday, Beijing said it was opening an anti-dumping investigation into pork exports from Europe. In announcing that, the Commerce Ministry did not mention EV tariffs. But the investigation into various pork products is widely seen as a response to the EU measures on electric cars. It is expected to take one year.

Escalating a trade dispute over Beijing’s subsidies that Brussels worries are hurting European automakers, the EU plans to impose provisional tariffs of 17.4% to 38.1% on EVs from China for four months starting July 4. They would apply to vehicles exported to Europe by both Chinese and foreign brands, including Tesla.

The European side has said it wants to discuss the findings of its investigation with Chinese authorities to find ways to resolve the issues.

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