EU imposes provisional duties on Chinese electric vehicle imports

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

The European Union will start imposing provisional countervailing duties on imports of electric vehicles (EVs) from China today, July 5, while negotiations with China continue for a more permanent arrangement.

"Today, nine months after the initiation of an ex officio anti-subsidy investigation, the European Commission (EC) has imposed provisional countervailing duties on imports of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from China," a statement from the EC said on Thursday.

Compared to the rates revealed in an earlier statement on June 12, the provisional duties have been slightly lowered based on comments about the accuracy of the calculations submitted by interested parties, the European Commission said.

Specifically, the individual tariffs applicable to the three sampled Chinese producers are: BYD, 17.4%; Geely, 19.9%; and SAIC, 37.6%.

The June statement from the EC originally put the tariffs at 17.4% for BYD, 20% for Geely, and 38.1% for SAIC.

It was 21% for other Chinese BEV producers that cooperated in the investigation but were not sampled, and 38.1% for other BEV producers in China that did not cooperate in the investigation.

These are on top of the EU's standard 10% duty on car imports.

Companies deemed by the EU to have cooperated with the anti-subsidy investigation, including Western carmakers Tesla and BMW, will be subject to 20.8% tariffs, while those that did not cooperate will face a rate of 37.6%.

The Commission has estimated that Chinese brands' share of the EU market has risen to 8% from below 1% in 2019 and could reach 15% in 2025. It says prices are typically 20% below those of EU-made models.

To stimulate demand, China has introduced subsidies of up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,375) each for auto trade-ins, and automakers like Tesla and BYD are offering zero-interest loans and no-down-payment options in that market. There are also purchase subsidies on offer for new car purchases.

In its statement, the EC said that “Following a substantiated request, one BEV producer in China – Tesla – may receive an individually calculated duty rate at the definitive stage, i.e., later this year.

"Any other company producing in China not selected in the final sample that wishes to have its particular situation investigated can ask for an accelerated review, in line with the basic anti-subsidy Regulation, just after the imposition of definitive measures. The deadline for concluding such a review is nine months from its request.”

Geely controls Volvo and recently took control of the Polestar BEV business from Volvo.

BYD is building a plant in Hungary that will be completed either late next year with a capacity of around 150,000 to 200,000 units, rising gradually once demand is there.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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