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Germany calls on EU to soften China tariffs - report

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Friday 14 Jun 2024

Germany calls on EU to soften China tariffs - report

(Sharecast News) - Germany is lobbying the European Union to soften or even scrap a proposed tariff hike on Chinese-made electric vehicles, it was reported on Friday.

According to Bloomberg, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, government officials in Berlin are understood to be optimistic that the EU will find a solution through direct talks with Beijing.

The European Commission announced earlier this week it would provisionally apply duties of between 17% and 38% on imported Chinese EVs from next month.

The charges will be applied on top of an existing 10% import duty, meaning some manufacturers could face charges as high as nearly 50%.

The decision, which follows a months-long investigation, is intended to boost industry and protect domestic manufacturers from cheap competition. However, some are concerned that the move could spark a trade war.

Germany is home to BMW, Mercedes-Benz Group and Volkswagen, and China is a major market. In the first quarter, China accounted for nearly 32% of sales at BMW and around 30% at Volkswagen and BMW.

Germany's economy minister, Robert Habeck, has already called for negotiations with Beijing, noting on Wednesday that there was "now an opportunity to try and hopefully success in stopping" a possible trade war.

He is due to travel to China next week.

In a press conference on Thursday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian told reporters: "We urge the EU to listen carefully to the objective and rational voices from all walks of life, immediately correct its wrong practices, stop politicising economic and trade issues and properly handle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation."

The duties are due to come into effect from 4 July.

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