China accuses U.S. and Europe of trade protectionism in green technology sector

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16th May 2024 – (Beijing) China has sharply criticised U.S. and European claims of industrial overcapacity, labelling them as “naked trade protectionism.” The criticism comes in response to Western measures aimed at limiting exports of new energy products from the world’s second-largest economy, a move Beijing argues could undermine global climate change efforts.

Tensions have escalated as concerns grow in the European Union about an influx of inexpensive Chinese products, perceived as a consequence of overproduction. This issue has become a significant aspect of the ongoing trade conflicts with the West, which began with the U.S. imposing import tariffs in 2018.

He Yadong, a spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry, challenged the Western perspective, stating, “A country cannot be labelled as having excess capacity just because it has surplus beyond its own needs.” He emphasised the need to view production and consumption from a global standpoint, suggesting that supply and demand should be aligned internationally.

This week, the Biden administration announced substantial tariff hikes on $18 billion worth of exports, including significantly increased tariffs on Chinese new energy vehicles. He Yadong argued that demand for these products is set to grow amid the global shift towards green technologies, comparing China’s market position to the aerospace duopoly of Boeing and Airbus.

He concluded by saying, “The countries concerned are worried about their competitiveness and market share,” adding, “Overcapacity is not a product, it is an anxiety.”