EU launches investigation into Chinese electric vehicles to protect European automakers: NPR

EU launches investigation into Chinese language electrical autos to guard European automakers: NPR

The European Fee says low-cost electrical automobiles from China are undermining its auto trade, and has launched an investigation into unfair commerce practices.

Scott Simon, host:

There’s a battle brewing between Europe and China over electrical automobiles. The European Union has accused China of flooding its markets with low-cost, government-subsidized electrical automobiles, saying that is unfair to European automakers. The European Union launched an investigation. NPR’s Rob Schmitz joins us now from Berlin. Rob, thanks a lot for being with us.

ROB SCHMITZ, by telephone: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: It looks like each automaker is unquestionably attempting to transition to electrical autos. What’s the EU’s drawback with Chinese language electrical automobiles?

Schmitz: Sure. In line with European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, the Chinese language authorities is transferring state funds to electrical automotive corporations. This made it simpler for them to promote automobiles outdoors China at cheaper costs than automobiles manufactured by automakers within the native markets to which they export them. This was type of the standout part of von der Leyen’s State of the Union handle this week. This is what she stated.

(Audio of archived recording)

Ursula von der Leyen: This distorts our market. Simply as we don’t settle for this distortion from inside our market, we don’t settle for this from the skin.

SCHMITZ: And Scott von der Leyen says that is why the European Union has now launched an investigation into this.

SIMON: And what does China say?

SCHMITZ: Nicely, China was very fast to reply. The Chinese language Ministry of Commerce described this investigation as an “open protectionist act” that may distort the worldwide auto trade’s provide chain. She warned that it might have a detrimental influence on commerce relations between China and the European Union.

SIMON: Rob, I haven’t got to let you know, China has state industries. They pour some huge cash into them.

Schmitz: That is proper.

SIMON: This isn’t breaking information. Why is the European Union elevating this grievance now?

SCHMITZ: Yeah, that is – none of it is a shock. , lots of people say this needs to be a brief investigation. One motive that is occurring now could be as a result of Ursula von der Leyen’s time period as president ends subsequent 12 months. This appears lots like the beginning of a re-election marketing campaign.

SIMON: Do you see extra Chinese language electrical automobiles on the freeway, for instance, in Germany the place you might be from?

Schmitz: No, not right here in Germany. I seen them as a result of I had been using them for years after I was reporting from China. However they’re beginning to seem in international locations which have constructed the most effective electrical car infrastructure in Europe. Individuals are beginning to see extra Chinese language automobiles in Norway, Netherlands and Belgium. , however curiously, these international locations aren’t complaining an excessive amount of concerning the menace that these Chinese language electrical automobiles pose.

SIMON: The French actually are, proper?

SCHMITZ: (Laughter) Sure, they’re. The French automotive producers are offended, very offended, about this. They’ve been pressuring von der Leyen to start out this investigation as a result of they really feel threatened by these Chinese language automobiles coming into their market right here on their soil.

SIMON: What about Germany? It actually has a powerful vehicle trade.

Schmitz: Sure. They usually do not say something.

SIMON: Why not?

SCHMITZ: Nicely, not like the French carmakers, which have virtually no presence in China, the largest carmakers in Germany – we’re speaking about Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW – are doing superb enterprise in China, and so they do not wish to disturb that. I spoke to Burkhard Rehring, editor-in-chief of Germany’s Car Weekly, about this. On the one hand, he says, German automakers would love much less competitors from China right here in Europe.

Burkhard Rehring: However then again, they need to concern retaliation within the Chinese language market. China is by far the most important market on the earth, you realize. I believe it is 12 instances greater than the German market, and we’re within the nation of automobiles.

SCHMITZ: And, Scott, if the EU investigation results in tariffs on Chinese language automobiles, these German automakers will likely be a simple goal for retaliation from China. This isn’t one thing Germany wants, particularly now that its financial system – the most important in Europe – is displaying indicators of contraction.

SIMON: NPR’s Berlin correspondent, Rob Schmitz. Thanks very a lot for being with us.

SCHMITZ: Thanks, Scott.

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