Chinese Foreign Ministry urges EU to abide by commitment to support free trade, oppose protectionism

China EU Photo: VCG

China EU Photo: VCG

It is hoped that Europe will abide by its commitment to support free trade and oppose protectionism, and work with China to safeguard overall China-EU economic and trade cooperation, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson from China’s Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Wednesday.

Wang’s remarks came after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently hinted that the EU could impose formal tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), but would take a different approach to the US.

In response, Wang said that China’s development and opening up bring opportunities, not risks, to Europe and the world. Protectionism cannot solve the EU’s problems; what is protected is backwardness and what is lost is the future, Wang noted.

“China and Europe are each other’s second largest trading partners, and both are important forces in building an open global economy, so they should resolve specific economic and trade issues through dialogue and consultation,” the spokesperson said.

The EU has launched anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese EVs and the US has raised tariffs on a variety of imports from China, including EVs, in addition to existing tariffs under Section 301.

China could consider raising the temporary tariff rates on imported cars with large-displacement engines, in order to reduce imports as part of the country’s broader efforts to cut carbon emissions and promote green development of the auto industry, a Chinese auto industry insider told the Global Times.

The suggestion for increased temporary tariff rate on imports of vehicles with engines larger than 2.5 liters was put forward by Liu Bin, chief expert of China Automotive Technology & Research Center and deputy director of China Automotive Strategy and Policy Research Center, who has participated in drafting policies for China’s auto industry and has been conducting research on green and low-carbon development of the auto industry for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Noting protectionist actions taken by certain countries and regions against Chinese EVs, Liu said that the suggested plan for China to raise temporary tariff rates on imported cars with large-displacement engines is fundamentally different and is in line with WTO rules, market-directed economy principles and green development goals.

Global Times