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EU Imposes Provisional Duties on Chinese Battery Electric Vehicles

EU Imposes Provisional Duties on Chinese Battery Electric Vehicles

In a significant move aimed at protecting local industry, the European Commission has imposed provisional countervailing duties on imports of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from China. This decision, coming nine months after the initiation of an ex officio anti-subsidy investigation, is based on findings that the BEV value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidisation. This unfair advantage poses a threat to EU BEV producers, as outlined in the Commission's detailed investigation.



Key Developments in the EU Battery Market


The investigation, which began on 4 October 2023, concluded that Chinese BEV producers are benefiting from subsidies that give them an unfair competitive edge.


Consequently, provisional duties have been set for three major Chinese BEV producers:


  • BYD: 17.4%

  • Geely: 19.9%

  • SAIC: 37.6%


Other Chinese BEV producers, which cooperated but were not part of the sample, face a weighted average duty of 20.8%, while non-cooperating companies are subject to a 37.6% duty. These provisional measures will apply from 5 July 2024, lasting up to four months, during which a final decision on definitive duties will be made by EU Member States.



Impact on EU and China Relations


The imposition of these duties has intensified consultations between the EU and China. Recently, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Chinese Trade Minister Wang Wentao engaged in discussions to seek a World Trade Organization (WTO)-compatible solution.


The ongoing negotiations aim to address the EU's concerns effectively while considering the interests of all stakeholders involved.



Procedure and Next Steps


The provisional duties are secured by guarantees and may be collected if definitive duties are imposed. Member States will vote on these measures within 14 days following their publication in the Official Journal. Interested parties can request hearings and provide comments within the specified timelines.


Following this, the Commission will disclose its proposal for definitive measures, allowing further comments before presenting the final determination to Member States.



Significance for the EU Battery Market


The investigation, announced by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, during her State of the European Union speech on 13 September 2023, underscores the EU's commitment to maintaining fair competition.


The rapid increase in low-priced electric vehicle exports from China prompted this stringent action to safeguard the EU BEV market.



Future Outlook


As the provisional duties come into effect, the EU aims to conclude its investigation and make a final decision within the stipulated timeline. Any potential definitive measures will be in force for five years, extendable upon review. Additionally, companies like Tesla, producing in China, may receive individually calculated duty rates at the definitive stage, while other companies can request accelerated reviews.


For more detailed information, the Commission's Trade website and public register under case number AS689 provide comprehensive insights into the investigation and its findings. The EU's adherence to strict legal procedures ensures a transparent process, allowing all parties, including the Chinese government and exporters, to present their evidence and arguments.


The ongoing regulatory changes and discussions between the EU and China highlight the dynamic nature of the global battery electric vehicle market. Stakeholders will closely watch the developments, as the outcomes will significantly impact both the EU and Chinese BEV industries.


 

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