Interview: German auto association chief sees new tariffs, protectionism as "wrong way to go" -Xinhua

Interview: German auto association chief sees new tariffs, protectionism as "wrong way to go"

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-15 12:00:15

BERLIN, May 15 (Xinhua) -- "We believe that building up new tariffs and sliding into protectionism is the wrong way to go, instead there should be more dialogues," Hildegard Mueller, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday.

She said she is very pleased that the association was able to have open and key dialogues with China's commerce minister and business leaders, and these have helped open up interest and options to intensify cooperation between the two countries.

"We need to talk to each other so that it is equally possible for companies of both sides to approach mutually, produce there and sell there," instead of new tariffs and barriers, which are not the right way forward, Mueller stressed.

The German car industry is on an ambitious path towards climate neutrality and has a clear roadmap on the way to it. The VDA has previously committed to achieving this goal by 2050.

As the largest market for the ramp-up of electric mobility, China is indispensable for the climate neutrality of the German automotive industry, as this rapid growth in China has benefited the European country technologically, said Mueller, when sharing her impression after attending the Beijing auto show half a month ago.

"In China, around 16 percent of the cars produced are exported. The German auto industry has higher export figures. We export three out of four cars produced," she said, adding that German carmakers are happy to join the important and highly competitive Chinese market where three out of every 10 cars worldwide are sold.

Chinese new energy vehicles (NEVs) are standing out in fair global competition and have seen export increases due to constant investment in research and development (R&D), comprehensive supply chains, and rich human resources. The recent so-called narrative of overcapacity on Chinese NEVs is "questionable" as "the Chinese numbers do not speak for it," said Mueller, adding that fair competition globally should be welcomed and is good for all parties.

Last week, a BMW i5 electric car rolled off the assembly line in northeast China's Shenyang, marking the 6 millionth car produced by BMW Group's joint venture in China since the German carmaker entered the Chinese market 30 years ago. The Volkswagen Group has announced the establishment in Hefei, Anhui Province, of its largest R&D center outside the German headquarters to focus on intelligent connected vehicles. Also, Audi's pure electric car factory in China is expected to start operation by the end of this year, with an annual production capacity of more than 150,000 vehicles.

Mueller regards the automotive cooperation between China and Germany in green transformation and intelligent connectivity as vitally important and encourages the two parties to continue to be crucial partners in achieving global climate goals.

"I believe that the two markets should be closely linked," she said, expressing her welcome for Chinese companies coming to Germany. And for the German side, its carmakers have shown interest not only in exporting but also in producing in China, she noted.