Xinhua Commentary: EU's tariffs on Chinese EVs are misguided leap into protectionism-Xinhua

Xinhua Commentary: EU's tariffs on Chinese EVs are misguided leap into protectionism

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-12 22:24:30

by Xinhua writer Zeng Yan

GENEVA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Wednesday issued a statement to pre-disclose the level of provisional duties it would impose on imports of battery electric vehicles (EVs) from China.

Persisting with its trade protectionist actions, the European Commission dismissed requests and concerns from numerous European Union (EU) member state governments and industry sectors, overlooking the facts and violating World Trade Organization rules.

Such protectionist move would not only violate the legitimate rights and interests of China's EV industry but also wreak havoc on the global automotive supply chain, including within the EU itself.

The EU's justification for these tariffs hinges on claims of unfair competition due to so-called "distortive" Chinese government subsidies. However, this claim is nothing but a thinly veiled excuse for protectionism.

China's rapid advancements in the EV sector underscore its competitiveness and innovation capabilities. Chinese carmakers have invested heavily in research and development, scaling production, and creating a robust supply chain, resulting in high-quality EVs at competitive prices. As a result, China has leapt to the forefront of the global EV market and continued to push technological boundaries.

Instead of resorting to protectionist measures, the EU should embrace this competition as an impetus for its own development. By fostering a competitive environment, the EU can drive its manufacturers to innovate, improve efficiencies, and enhance the quality of their products.

Protectionism only serves to shield domestic industries from the realities of global market forces, ultimately leading to stagnation and inefficiency.

Global brands from Tesla to BMW have spoken against trade barriers and argued that automakers can handle Chinese competition.

"You could very quickly shoot yourself in the foot," BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told reporters after the German premium automaker released quarterly results last month. BMW is heavily reliant on revenues from its Chinese business.

Like many other European carmakers, BMW refuted the narrative that the European auto industry needed protection, said Zipse, arguing that operating on a global basis gives major automakers an industrial advantage. "You can easily endanger that advantage by introducing import tariffs," he said.

What is worse, should provisional tariffs be in place, the EU will make EVs more expensive for its consumers, thereby slowing the adoption of clean technology. This contradicts the EU's ambitious climate goals and undermines global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

It sends a mixed message: while the EU claims to be a leader in environmental policy, it is willing to sacrifice progress for the sake of protecting its domestic industries.

Free trade has been a cornerstone of global prosperity, driving innovation, reducing prices and increasing consumer choice. Unfortunately, the EU's tariff hike could encourage other countries to erect similar barriers, choking the flow of goods and services across borders and undermining the very foundation of global economic cooperation.

Rather than imposing tariffs, the EU should seek collaborative solutions that benefit all parties involved. Engaging in open dialogue with China to address concerns could lead to mutually beneficial agreements, improve trade relations, and contribute to global economic stability and growth.