Western tariffs a ‘challenge’ for China’s battery giant CATL – ET Auto

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Western tariffs a ‘challenge’ for China’s battery giant CATL – ET Auto


CATL is a major player in the market as the world’s top producer of EV batteries, having signed deals with carmakers including Tesla, Stellantis and BMW.

An executive from China’s battery giant CATL said on Thursday that Western tariffs tied to electric vehicles present a “challenge” for the firm, and are bad for customers too.

Citing unfair competition, the European Union is due to impose hefty tariffs on Chinese-made EVs by July 4, after Washington increased duties on the sector last month.

Canada suggested this week it might also follow suit.

CATL is a major player in the market as the world’s top producer of EV batteries, having signed deals with carmakers including Tesla, Stellantis and BMW.

“I will say this is a challenge,” said Ni Jun, CATL’s chief manufacturing officer.

“I believe (the tariffs are) not good for the consumer,” he told AFP at a World Economic Forum event in the northern city of Dalian.

“Whether you are a European consumer or Asian consumer, we want to have affordable product, high quality, (that) can save the planet,” he said.

CATL has been helped by robust financial support from Beijing, which has prioritised the development of domestic high-tech industries that it views as strategically advantageous.

“China invests heavily in the lithium-ion battery research, development and production,” Ni said.

Such support is the source of complaints from Western governments about unfair competition.

Many of the vehicles affected by tariffs are fitted with batteries from CATL, which is aiming to ramp up its operations in Europe next year.

Based in the coastal Chinese city of Ningde, the company is currently building a second European factory in Hungary.

At home, the firm’s success in recent years has been galvanised by rapid growth in the domestic market.

Not only had China seen “a massive introduction” of personal car ownership over the past 30 years, but also the establishment of “the capability, the entire supply ecosystem” for EVs, Ni said.

This gave Chinese firms a huge advantage in the global shift towards green transport.

“There’s already capability for China to go quickly,” he said.

  • Published On Jun 28, 2024 at 12:55 PM IST

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