China criticizes EU’s anti-subsidy probe into electric vehicles as protectionism

The EU’s anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles is “typical protectionism,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian.

The European Union’s recent anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) has been labelled as “typical protectionism” by China’s Foreign Ministry. At a regular press briefing on Wednesday, spokesperson Lin Jian criticised the EU’s move, urging it to honour its commitment to free trade and to avoid protectionist practices.

Lin Jian asserted that the EU’s investigation is an unfair attempt to undermine the competitiveness of Chinese EVs in the European market. He argued that Chinese companies have made significant strides in technology and innovation, allowing them to offer high-quality products at competitive prices. The probe, Lin suggested, is a thinly veiled attempt to protect European manufacturers from legitimate competition rather than address any actual issues of unfair trade practices.

The EU announced the investigation in response to complaints that Chinese EVs are being sold at artificially low prices, thanks to subsidies from the Chinese government. The investigation aims to determine whether these subsidies violate international trade rules and harm the European automotive industry by undercutting local manufacturers. However, Lin Jian emphasized that China’s EV industry operates within the framework of fair competition and has achieved its current market position through significant investment in research and development, not through unfair trade practices.

Lin urged the EU to adhere to its commitments under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to support free trade and oppose protectionism. He highlighted that protectionist measures not only disrupt global supply chains but also hinder technological progress and the global transition to cleaner energy sources. According to Lin, the global EV market thrives on innovation and competition, and any form of protectionism could set back these advancements.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson also pointed out the broader implications of the EU’s actions for international trade relations. He warned that such measures could provoke retaliatory actions and lead to a deterioration in trade relations between the EU and China, which would be detrimental to both parties. Lin emphasised that cooperation, rather than confrontation, is the best approach to addressing the challenges facing the global economy.

Lin called on the EU to abandon what he described as a “protectionist mentality” and to work towards creating an open and fair trading environment. He suggested that the EU should engage in dialogue and cooperation with China to address any concerns regarding the EV market, rather than resorting to punitive measures that could escalate trade tensions.