EU Duties on Chinese Electric Car Imports Will Hurt Both Sides

Imports of electric cars to Germany are in free fall

Zheng Shanjie

China will take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. During a high-level meeting between China and Germany on climate change and prospects for the energy transition, Zheng Shanjie, head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, sharply criticized European Union plans to impose additional duties on imports of Chinese electric cars: “Brussels’s possible move will harm both sides,” emphasized Zheng, according to whom such decisions “contradict market principles and common sense.”

Zheng also stressed that China’s new energy industry development is driven by “advantages in technology, market and industrial chains” and is the result of “market competition” rather than subsidies or unfair practices. “Foreign brands are opening factories in China not because of subsidies, but because Beijing has the most complete electric vehicle production chain and skilled workers in the auto industry,” the Chinese official said.

But even beyond customs barriers, consumer transition to electric vehicles is treading water. According to data just released by the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the number of electric vehicles imported into Germany in the first four months of 2024 fell by 45.3% compared to the same period of last year. Imports from China fell by 15.7 percent. However, China is still the largest exporter of electric vehicles to Germany with 77,000 vehicles, followed by the Czech Republic (8100) and South Korea (6700).