EU Slaps Chinese Electric Cars with Tariffs of up to 38%

A European Commission probe launched last year concluded that state subsidies for Chinese EV manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European rivals © STR / AFP/File
A European Commission probe launched last year concluded that state subsidies for Chinese EV manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European rivals © STR / AFP/File
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EU Slaps Chinese Electric Cars with Tariffs of up to 38%

A European Commission probe launched last year concluded that state subsidies for Chinese EV manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European rivals © STR / AFP/File
A European Commission probe launched last year concluded that state subsidies for Chinese EV manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European rivals © STR / AFP/File

The European Union on Thursday slapped extra provisional duties of up to 38 percent on Chinese electric car imports because of Beijing's "unfair" support, a move that risks escalating tensions with Beijing.
A European Commission probe launched last year concluded that state subsidies for Chinese EV manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European rivals -- which Brussels wants to shield as they make the transition from thermal to electric power, AFP reported.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce to the EU slammed the tariffs, coming on top of current import duties of 10 percent, as "politically-motivated" and "protectionist", while voicing hope the dispute could yet be resolved through dialogue.

Europeans are split on the move, with Germany and its homegrown auto champions, who do significant trade with China, fearing it will do more harm than good if it leads to a clampdown on EU exports as Beijing has already threatened.

German auto giant Volkswagen slammed the move as "detrimental" while the head of BMW said the tariff battle "leads to a dead end".

France and Italy have pushed for tariffs on Chinese EVs -- whose EU market share has skyrocketed -- but Sweden like Germany has expressed reservations, while Hungary is outright opposed.

The provisional tariffs kick in from Friday, with definitive duties to take effect in November for a five-year period, pending a vote by the EU's 27 states.

"Our investigation... concluded that the battery electric vehicles produced in China benefit from unfair subsidisation, which is causing a threat of economic injury to the EU's own electric car makers," the EU's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said.

In response, the commission imposed provisional duties on major Chinese manufacturers including 17.4 percent for market major BYD, 19.9 percent for Geely and 37.6 percent for SAIC.

Other producers in China that cooperated with Brussels will face a tariff of 20.8 percent, while those that did not would be subject to the maximum 37.6 percent duty.

US tech billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla -- which manufactures in China -- is the only electric automaker to have asked Brussels for its own duty rate, to be calculated based on evidence it has submitted.

The Tesla Model 3 would be affected as well as the electric Mini, the Volvo EX40 and all other non-Chinese branded cars made in China.
The move comes despite the opening of talks between Chinese and EU trade officials, and trade chief Dombrovskis said Brussels will continue "to engage intensively with China on a mutually acceptable solution".

China's electric car maker Nio said it still hoped for a resolution with the EU, while fellow EV maker XPeng said it would "find ways to minimise the impact on consumers" without changing its international strategy.

EU officials have indicated that, should a negotiated solution emerge, they may not ultimately need to levy the tariffs.

But Dombrovskis cautioned that "any negotiated outcome to our investigation must clearly and fully address EU concerns and be in respect of WTO rules."

Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, told AFP the move "would obviously have a negative impact on the development of China's EV industry, especially its development in the EU in the short term."

Beijing has already signalled its readiness to retaliate by launching an anti-dumping probe last month into pork imports, and Chinese media suggest further probes could be in the works.
The United States has already hiked customs duties on Chinese electric cars to 100 percent, while Canada is considering similar action.

But Brussels faces a delicate balancing act as it seeks to defend Europe's auto industry -- the jewel in its industrial crown -- while both avoiding a damaging showdown with China and meeting its targets for slashing carbon emissions.

The EU aims for Europeans to switch massively to electric vehicles as it plans to outlaw the sale of new fossil fuel-powered cars from 2035.

Chinese-made EVs' market share in the EU climbed from around three percent to more than 20 percent in the past three years, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

Chinese brands account for around eight percent of that share, it said.

Germany's Kiel Institute for the World Economy, alongside Austrian institutes, predicted the provisional higher taxes would reduce vehicle imports from China by 42 percent.

Electric car prices could rise by an average of 0.3 to 0.9 percent in the EU, they added.

German auto manufacturers fear any retaliation could hurt their activities in China.

Duties were "generally not suitable for strengthening the competitiveness of the European automotive industry in the long term -- we reject them", Volkswagen said.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.