Chinese industry body urges EU to maintain objectivity in electric vehicle probe

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Shi Yonghong

13th April 2024 – (Brussels) A Chinese industry body has called on the European Union (EU) to maintain objectivity, fairness, and transparency in its ongoing investigation into Chinese battery-fueled electric vehicles (EVs) and to refrain from implementing protectionist measures.

The European Commission recently launched an anti-subsidy probe into EV imports from China and is currently assessing whether punitive tariffs should be imposed to safeguard EU manufacturers from Chinese competitors.

Shi Yonghong, Vice President of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), expressed concerns about potential bias in the Commission’s investigation, emphasizing that “the findings are very likely to be distorted and lacking objectivity.”

CCCME has been authorized by 12 Chinese EV exporting producers involved in the case, including three producers that are currently being individually investigated by the Commission.

Shi highlighted that the Commission’s probe exemplifies “double standards” within the EU, pointing out the deliberate selection of three Chinese EV producers—BYD, Geely, and SAIC—for the anti-subsidy investigation, while disregarding the nearly $400 billion of subsidies provided by the United States through the Inflation Reduction Act and substantial EU subsidies for battery and EV production.

According to data from the clean transport campaign group Transport and Environment, Tesla and Renault’s Dacia were the top two exporters from China to the EU. However, these two companies were not included in the samples for the investigation.

Shi contended that the Commission’s practices have violated established legal protocols and contradicted previous approaches in evaluating exporters with the highest volume of exports to the EU. He noted that the biased sample selection has “tarnished the entire investigation process.”

Transparency also emerged as a key concern, with Shi pointing out that EU producers have been granted anonymity, and the Commission has failed to fulfill its World Trade Organization obligations regarding the provision of basic information on data and data sources for industry injury assessments. Despite raising these concerns early in the process, CCCME has received no feedback or corrective action from the Commission.

Addressing claims that Chinese EVs are capturing EU market share, Shi presented evidence suggesting otherwise. He referenced European economists who observed that Chinese and EU brands typically cater to distinct market segments, and the main importers of Chinese EVs are EU producers themselves.

During a hearing with the European Commission on Thursday, CCCME and participating Chinese firms reiterated their concerns but received no feedback. Zhou Qi, Chief Legal Counsel for SAIC Motor, expressed frustration over the lack of engagement from the EU body, stating, “We are not afraid of competition, but we seek fair treatment.”