EU delays decision on Chinese EV tariffs to focus on European Parliament elections

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The threat of EV tariffs between Europe and China continues to loom and is heating up. The EU has reportedly delayed sharing its decision on implementing fees on Chinese EV imports to avoid the topic during its current Parliament campaign phase.

Tariffs surrounding EVs have been an ongoing saga in the global marketplace for the past six months or so, as regions like the US and EU have grown weary of the ongoing “threat” Chinese-made EVs present as genuine competition.

Bolstered by government subsidies and an earlier commitment to electrification, China, in many ways, continues to lead the world in EV innovation and development, bringing the most affordable models to market overseas.

In recent years, Chinese automakers like NIO, XPeng, and BYD have expanded outside of Asia into other large markets like Europe, catching the attention of local automakers who have admittedly been slower to develop and launch quality BEVs.

As a result, the EU implemented a probe into the Chinese automakers that the European Commission believes have been “unfairly” subsidized as exports into the region by the boatload. To combat this alleged advantage, Europe has threatened tariffs on imports of EVs built in China.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Biden administration took action before any Chinese EVs even entered its market, raising tariffs on goods originating from China, including solar panels, batteries, medical supplies, and EVs, from 25% to 100%.

Feeling the heat from the US and a looming threat of EV tariffs in the EU, China has threatened its own fees on vehicle imports from both regions and has demanded the EU Commission share the results of its probe and its decision on whether or not to impose said tariffs.

That decision was due publicly on June 5, but new reports state the EU is now keeping those details close to its chest a tad longer so the hot topic does not distract voters in the upcoming Parliament elections.

NIO ET5 Europe
The First ET5 delivery in the Netherlands / Credit: NIO

China calls for end of EV probe as EU mulls tariff decision

Per a recent report by Reuters, the European Commission has delayed its decision on whether or not to impose tariffs on Chinese EVs until after its upcoming Parliament election on June 6-9. That said, a spokesperson for the European Commission said the decision date (possibly June 10) has yet to be confirmed.

Either way, China will have to wait at least five extra days to learn the fate of its place in the EU automotive market, and it is not pleased. China has urged the EU Commission to nix the EV subsidy probe altogether, describing the investigation as “unreasonable” and a stray from international rules.

In addition to its focus on Parliament campaigns, the European Commission continues to argue that three Chinese EV automakers still need to supply adequate information to the anti-subsidy probe, offering potential reasoning for further delays in sharing its results.

The investigation began on October 4, 2023, and can last as long as 13 months. The EU Commission has the power to impose (provisional) anti-subsidy repercussions up to nine months after the start of the probe. So, in theory, we may not hear the EU’s findings or its decision on whether or not to impose EV tariffs until July 4, 2024.

The saga continues. Check back with Electrek soon for the latest updates.

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