Chinese automakers seek retaliatory tariffs

Urge govt to hike tariffs on imported European gasoline-powered cars

Reuters June 20, 2024


Chinese automakers have urged Beijing to hike tariffs on imported European gasoline-powered cars in retaliation for Brussels’ curbs on exports of Chinese-made EVs, the state-backed Global Times newspaper said on Wednesday.

In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday also attended by European car companies, China’s auto industry “called on the government to adopt firm countermeasures (and) suggested that positive consideration be given to raising the provisional tariff on gasoline cars with large-displacement engines,” according to the report.

The meeting, organised by China’s Ministry of Commerce, was held in Beijing and attended by SAIC, BYD, BMW, Volkswagen and its Porsche division, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The main aim of the meeting was to put pressure on Europe and lobby against the tariffs Brussels announced last week to shield its car industry from Chinese competition, they added.

The meeting was also attended by Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis and Renault, two separate sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

BMW, Volkswagen, Stellantis and Renault declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz said the group supports a liberal trade regime based on WTO rules.

“Against the background of globalisation and the economic interdependencies of our time, the motto for securing prosperity and peace is: dialogue and constructive cooperation. We are counting on the efforts of politicians to continue this dialogue.”

Industry insiders say both Europe and China have reasons for wanting to strike a deal in the months ahead to de-escalate tensions and avoid the addition of billions of dollars in new costs for Chinese EV makers, as the EU process allows for review.


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