EU Tariffs on China Not a ‘Punishment’, Says German Economy Minister

Flags of European Union and China are pictured during the China-EU summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 12, 2016. (Reuters)
Flags of European Union and China are pictured during the China-EU summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 12, 2016. (Reuters)
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EU Tariffs on China Not a ‘Punishment’, Says German Economy Minister

Flags of European Union and China are pictured during the China-EU summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 12, 2016. (Reuters)
Flags of European Union and China are pictured during the China-EU summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 12, 2016. (Reuters)

Proposed European Union tariffs on Chinese goods are not a "punishment", Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Chinese officials in Beijing on Saturday.

Habeck's visit to China is the first by a senior European official since Brussels proposed hefty duties on imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) to combat what the EU considers excessive subsidies.

China warned on Friday ahead of his arrival that escalating frictions with the EU over EVs could trigger a trade war.

"It is important to understand that these are not punitive tariffs," Habeck said in the first plenary session of a climate and transformation dialogue.

Countries such as the US, Brazil and Türkiye have used punitive tariffs, but not the EU, the economy minister said. "Europe does things differently."

Habeck said that for nine months, the European Commission had examined in great detail whether Chinese companies had benefited unfairly from subsidies.

Any countervailing duty measure that results from the EU review "is not a punishment", he said, adding that such measures are meant to compensate for the advantages granted to Chinese companies by Beijing.

Meeting Zheng Shanjie, chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, Habeck said the proposed EU tariffs were intended to level the playing field with China.

Zheng responded: "We will do everything to protect Chinese companies."



Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
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Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)

Egypt raised the prices of a wide range of fuel products on Thursday, the official gazette said, four days before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducts a third review of its expanded $8 billion loan program for the country.

The official gazette, citing the petroleum ministry, said petrol prices increased by up to 15% per litre, with 80 octane rising to 12.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.25), 92 octane to 13.75 pounds and 95 octane to 15 pounds.

Diesel, one of the most commonly used fuels, saw the biggest increase, rising to 11.50 Egyptian pounds ($0.24) from 10 pounds, according to Reuters.

This is the second time the government has raised fuel prices since the IMF expanded its loan program by $5 billion in March. Egypt has committed to slashing fuel subsidies as part of the agreement.

But Egyptians who spoke to Reuters, including taxi driver Sayed Abdo, complained that Thursday's move would mean an automatic increase in prices for daily goods.

"If you ride with me today and usually pay 10 Egyptian pounds, I will ask you for 15, because fuel prices are raised. That's normal, because when I go get food, what I used to buy with 10 Egyptian pounds becomes now for 15," he said.

"We don't know where we're headed with these prices."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said prices of petroleum products will gradually increase until the end of 2025, adding that the government could no longer bear the burden of increasing consumption.

Egyptians have also endured blackouts, which Madbouly said had ended at the start of this week, as the country struggled to import sufficient natural gas to tackle the summer heat.

In April, the IMF estimated that Egypt will spend 331 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.85 billion) on fuel subsidies in 2024/25 and 245 billion in 2025/26.

The IMF's approval for the third review of the expanded loan program was originally expected on July 10, but was pushed back to July 29, with the lender attributing the delay to the finalisation of some policy details.

The IMF is expected to disburse $820 million to Egypt after concluding its review.