China minister launches Europe trip

In Business
April 09, 2024



PARIS/
BEIJING:

China’s commerce minister began a trip to Europe by telling his nation’s top carmakers that US and European assertions of Chinese excess EV capacity were baseless and that innovation and “perfect” supply chains were behind their performance.

Wang Wentao held a roundtable meeting in Paris on Sunday with representatives of 10 Chinese EV firms including BYD, CATL and Geely ahead of talks on a European probe into whether Chinese EVs have benefited from unfair subsidies.

Wang reiterated Beijing’s stance that Chinese EV makers did not depend on subsidies to gain a competitive advantage, according to a statement published by the commerce ministry on Monday. “China’s electric vehicle companies rely on continuous technological innovation, perfect production and supply chain system and full market competition for rapid development, not relying on subsidies to gain competitive advantage,” Wang said.

He also told them the Chinese government would actively support firms to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests.

Four people briefed on Wang’s trip told Reuters in late March that the discussions would focus on the European Commission investigation, which began late last year and aims to determine whether to impose tariffs on Chinese exports to protect European car makers. China has a significant lead over European companies in developing low-cost EV models in particular.

The investigation is due to conclude by November, although the EU executive could impose provisional duties earlier.

Wang also met on Sunday Renault chief executive Luca de Meo, who is also acting chairman of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), said a person briefed on the meeting.

De Meo stressed the importance of “reciprocity” and told Wang the Chinese should bring more of their supply chain to continental Europe, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2024.

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