East Asia

China says it has right to file WTO suit over EU electric car tariffs

The European Commission pointed on Wednesday to “unfair subsidisation” in China, which it said “is causing a threat of economic injury” to EU electric car makers.

The tariffs will apply provisionally from Jul 4 and then definitively from November unless there is a qualified majority of EU states – 15 countries representing at least 65 per cent of the bloc’s population – voting against the move.

The EU tariffs, while high, are lower than the 100 per cent rate the United States imposed on Chinese electric cars from last month.


Europe’s automotive sector is the jewel in its industrial crown – boasting brands such as Mercedes and Ferrari – but it faces threats including China’s head start in the switch to electric.

Brussels wants to put the brakes on what it claims were unfair practices undercutting Europe’s automakers, which face a 2035 deadline to phase out new sales of combustion engine cars.

Germany, Hungary and Sweden previously expressed concerns about applying higher duties.

Chinese media ramped up threats that Beijing could target EU exports, including pork and dairy products, ahead of Wednesday’s decision.

China launched an anti-dumping investigation in January into brandy imported from the EU in a move seen as targeting France, which pushed for the commission’s probe.

A group representing French cognac producers said it was “deeply concerned” about possible Chinese retaliation.

China’s commerce ministry did not offer specifics when asked on Thursday about countermeasures that might be taken.

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